K673 Kachina Maiden by Hopi carver Coolidge Roy, Jr. The 5” x 3” x 2 1/4” Maiden is carved from cottonwood root in the traditional Hopi manner.
The Kachina Maiden wears her hair in butterfly whorls, a traditional style of an unmarried Hopi Maiden. She is seen at the Home Dance in July, the last dance of the Kachina season.
Hopi Kachina carver Cooledge Roy, Jr. from Third Mesa comes from a family of carvers. His father, brothers and sons are all carvers. Cooledge says"Most of the time, when I'm carving, I sing a song, a special song for each carving. The songs I sing are the songs the Kachinas dance to. It's their song."
About the Carver:
Cooledge Roy, Jr.
Coolidge Roy Jr. and his wife Juanita live on Third Mesa in Oraibi, Arizona where he continues to participate in tribal activities regularly. He is the proud father of four children and three grand-children. Coolidge Roy, Jr. was born August 4, 1950 in the village of Moenkopi, which is an extension of the Third Mesa villages.
Coolidge has long been famous for his magnificently beautiful Eagle Dancer Kachina dolls. He is a contemporary Kachina carver who has won awards. He mainly carves the Eagle and Sun Kachina dolls, and can complete one in about four days due to his many years of experience.
Coolidge's father was a carver as are his brothers and sons.
Being very careful in choosing what he carves, Cooledge highly respects the advice of his elders. He says, “In Hopi, we pray for all the people, not just our own. We pray for you and everybody and everything that is moving. Everything to me is spiritual and everything is religious.”
He honors the traditions and has participated in the dances since he was initiated as a boy. He says, “I carve the dolls the way the Kachinas are in the dances, and then I gather up my shavings and take them to a special place, leaving them for the wind to carry away. I leave the bigger pieces there and they get covered up with sand. It’s a sacred place to me and I have done this for a long time. Most of the time when I am carving I sing a song, a special song for each carving. The songs I sing are the songs the Kachinas dance to - it’s their song.”
His work is well-known and can be recognized easily because of his unique style. One of the most noticeable aspects of his carvings is the "natural" coloration that he achieves by using only very faint pigments. He likens his expertise unto a professor or doctor who has spent their whole life learning their profession, and it shows in his work.
Coolidge has a lot of respect for his tradition and is extremely sensitive to it. He will not carve certain figures that "the elders" have warned against--concerned that it might bring misfortune to a friend or family member.
Fine examples of Coolidge's work can be found in most books on Hopi art including Hopi Kachina Dolls and their carvers by Theda Bassman, and Erik Bromberg's The Hopi Approach to the Art of Kachina Doll Carving.