Here we have a fabulous vintage ceramic statue of a Kachina dancer--not the Kachina doll but rather the man who would be dressed as a Kachina and dancing on a Native American fiesta day or pow wow. This dancer is representing the Great Horned Owl, which we can tell by the big round eyes, beak, and horned feathers at the head. The piece is done in matte finish, well-rendered and includes a leather cape that is soft and supple. On the bottom are the words, Happy Birthday Frank. As the statue carries no other signature, we have no way of knowing whether this was done by an artist or a hobbyist, nor whether it was Native American or not. We do know that hobbyist pottery was big in the mid-century, as was this country's fascination with all things Southwest and Native American, and we estimate this piece to be from that era.
From a website describing the different Kachinas, here is this about the Owl: "The Great Horned Owl or Mongwa (sometimes spelled Mongwu) is ... famous for his disciplinary battles with the clowns. Whenever the clowns' behavior becomes too outrageous, they are disciplined by him. To keep their outrageous antics from interrupting the ceremony, the owl supervises the clowns during many of the ceremonies. Mongwa would usually watch the clowns with a heavy, disapproving stare." The Owl Kachina also symbolizes intelligence and wisdom.
This piece measures 15-1/5" tall by about 6-1/2" wide at the widest point, and the base is about 3-3/4" in diameter. There are a few spots where the paint has flaked off, which could easily be restored. I kind of like the piece as is, however, as the imperfections speak to age. As with many ceramic pieces, a small piece of the clay was trapped inside the piece (this often happens when a plug is cut out and the piece falls inside rather than outside) and so you can hear it jangling around if you pick up the piece. Otherwise in great vintage condition with no chips or cracks.
Inspired by great reverence, amazing culture.
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