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Ceremonial Dance with a Deer Dancer and Drummer [SOLD]

C3868J-paint.jpg

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Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah Ah
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: gouache
  • Size:
    8-3/4” x 10-1/4” image;
    17-3/4” x 18-1/2” framed
  • Item # C3868J
  • SOLD

This original painting by Tonita Peña (Quah Ah) of San Ildefonso Pueblo was probably painted in the first two years of the 1920s. Over her career, Tonita used a variety of signatures on her paintings. (A complete description of the signatures and corresponding dates used may be seen in the biographical information provided by clicking here or on her name above.)

 

In this painting, Peña presents a beautiful image of a Deer Dancer in active dance position with his right leg raised in a movement of dance.  His deer antler head dress is elaborate with feathers in motion on the antlers.  A beautiful green ruff hangs from his neck, eagle feathers bundled together hang from the white rain sash on his back.  He wears a beautifully embroidered kilt, white shirt, leggings with yarn ties just below the knees and white moccasin with skunk tied to the backs.  In his hands, he carries two sticks that take the place of the deer’s front legs. 

 

Following the Deer Dancer is a drummer with raised drum stick in the right hand and mouth open in a chant.  The drummer is wrapped in a Pendleton blanket and wears the most traditional and treasured jewelry.  It is a turquoise nugget necklace with jaclas suspended at the bottom.  This is the style necklace favored by all pueblo natives and one that is seen on most dancers during any ceremony.  It is a style that has existed for a thousand years.

 

Generally, there are women in Tonita’s paintings, and, as a rule, these women are taking a definite part in the dance.  In this painting, it appears that the drummer is female, which is quite unusual as drummers and singers are usually male.  The white high-top moccasins being worn by the drummer are the style worn by females.

 

On the back of the Ceremonial Dance with a Deer Dancer and Drummer is written “Pueblo Indian Arts & Crafts Market.”  There is no other indication of when or where that occurred.  It is quite possible that this was an event in 1920-21 before the creation of what became Indian Market in 1922. 

 

The frame that came with the original painting is a hand carved wood frame of the style made at the Santa Fe Indian School.  We had the painting re-matted with archival materials and retained the original frame. 

 

Condition: very good condition with only slight discoloration under the mat.

Provenance: from a gentleman in Santa Fe

Recommended ReadingTonita Peña by Samuel Gray

Close up view of the dancer

Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah Ah
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: gouache
  • Size:
    8-3/4” x 10-1/4” image;
    17-3/4” x 18-1/2” framed
  • Item # C3868J
  • SOLD

C3868J-paint.jpgC3868J-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.