Early Carvings of a PAIR of Koyemsi Playing Drums


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Carver Unknown

This pair of Koyemsi carvings was created by an unknown Hopi Pueblo carver. We would estimate a date of circa 1920. This unique and rare offering will excite those who appreciate older katsina dolls.

The Koyemsi or "Mudhead" Katsina is present at the majority of Hopi ceremonial dances. He serves both religious and secular functions, and can often be seen dancing, drumming, and interacting with the audience. Koyemsi katsinam are depicted frequently in Hopi artworks.

These two Koyemsi katsinam are drumming. Each holds a stick in his right hand and has his drum positioned directly in front of him. They sit on striped objects, which might be additional drums. The artist did an excellent job with the details, carving and painting in a way that is quite impressive for the era. The beauty of these carvings is enhanced by their age, which is evident in the pigment loss, the pattern of light abrasions, and the carving style.

What is a Katsina?

Condition: very good condition considering age, light abrasion and pigment loss

Provenance: this Early Carvings of a PAIR of Koyemsi Playing Drums is from a private California collection

Reference: Clowns of the Hopi—Tradition Keepers and Delight Makers by Barton Wright

Recommended Reading: Kachinas: a Hopi artist’s documentary by Barton Wright

TAGS: Kachina – Katsina DollHopi Pueblo

Using a pencil showing the scale of these carvings.


Carver Unknown
C4647H-mudhead.jpgC4647H-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.