Hopi Doll, Headdress & Tray
This is kind of a tribute to my father, who lived and worked and ate and slept with the Hopi and Navajo Indians for 50 years. This is a small portion of the collection that he had accumulated that were not bought, but given to him.
What was he doing up on the mesas of Hopi?
He and my mother would collect clothing, cooking utensils, food, and would go down once or twice a year with their station wagon and distribute their items that they've collected to the people, and in thank you, they would give these things to my father and to my mother. And he became a very authoritative person on the Indian language, that he could speak both Hopi and Navajo, and also the collection that he accumulated from the people themselves.
And the objects you brought today are wonderful. And the reason I chose these three pieces out of the number of the pieces that you brought is that they all represent Kachina society. This is a Hemis Kachina. He was a principal dancer in the homecoming ceremony, which was the last dance of the season. As you see on his head, he has a tablita. This is also a tablita that the dancer wears. This particular piece, they're usually worn by women and the dancers. Men would be dressed as this particular Kachina, and the representations, they have case masks on. You see the Kachina showing up again in this coiled basket, or tray, by the Hopi Indians. And this was not a doll that was made for trade. These were teaching tools for children and primarily the girls who weren't allowed to be part of these sacred ceremonies. This particular doll, on the open market, probably in an auction round, would sell for between $4,000 and $6,000.
This doll. The tablita has a little more modest value, probably between $300 and $400, and the tray, again, because they're not as collectable in that form of basketry, but the imagery's so great on it, probably $150, $200. So in his acts of decency and kindness, he was rewarded by these people in the way they knew how to.
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