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Mudhead (Koyemsi) Kachina Doll by Malcolm Fred (Hopi) SOLD

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Price: $1,650.00
SOLD - Please call us for more information
Item Number: MCGK0252

Carved from cottonwood root, this large mudhead kachina doll holds a rattle in one hand and feathers in the other. He stands upon a beautifully painted base. Hopi carver Malcolm Fred has meticulously carved and painted the intricate details on this spectacular doll. The Koyemsi are considered to be clowns, but their  common roles are as interlocutors between katsinas and humans, announcing impending events, translating requests, and giving directions.  They are thought to have originated at the Zuni Pueblo, and versions of them are found in all of the Pueblos. 

Malcolm Fred is known for the incredible realism in his figures, often with the folds of skirts and muscle tones reflecting actual movement and detail. He comes from a large family of Kachina carvers which includes brothers Jim, Verlan, Henry, Nathan and Glen. Born in 1960, Malcolm is of the Greasewood and Roadrunner clans, and born of the Village of Bacavi on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona.  Malcolm has been carving kachina dolls and winning awards for his work since he was a teenager. His interest and eye for detail was developing around the age of ten when he would observe as his older brothers carved kachina dolls. When he began carving and experimenting, he used a butter knife. He now uses both hand and power tools. While he has won many awards for his work, he states he doesn’t try to be the best but rather he tries “to be the best I can.” Indeed, in working to always improve and to portray detail in both carving and painting his dolls, he is certainly among the best in kachina doll carving today.  (The Indian Craft Shop 2017)

As quoted in Theda Bassman’s Hopi Kachina Dolls and their carvers (Schiffer Publishing, 1991), “… we must never forget all of the reasons why we carve dolls. I hope that the Kachinas will never be forgotten and the carvers must not forget to have the elders of the village give them good advice, as there are different points of view. The carver must not forget about their culture. I get information about my religion by asking about it, such as what the dolls represent, and about the spirits for the rain. The dolls were originally made for the kids. You really have to grow up with it.”


Central to the traditional religion of the Hopi people of the Northern Arizona are Kachinas. A Kachina (Katsinas) is a supernatural being relied upon to provide rain, fertility, health, and well being. While kachinas play a role in many of the Pueblo societies, the Hopi are most noted and prolific today in kachina doll carving. Each year in elaborate ceremonies, men of the Hopi villages dress and mask themselves for ritualized dances to represent and call on the different Kachinas. Kachina dolls are carved from cottonwood root and have long been used to instruct Hopi children in the ways of the traditional religious cycles, and to help them learn to identify the hundreds of different beings. The carvings convey the movement of the dancer, and the specific particulars of the mask, costume, and accessories. In addition to kachinas, Hopi artists also carve figures from Hopi mythology and folklore as well as other Pueblos dancers. To read more about arts of the Hopi, click here.

Height: 14.5", Width: 5", Depth: 4.25"

An additional $10 shipping fee will be applied at check out and will be marked as "handling" on your receipt. This item requires specialized packaging to ensure safe delivery.