Vintage Tuhavi/Koyemsi Kachina by Raymond Chee

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"The Hopis have a legend they retell about two Kachina spirits – Tuhavi (Paralyzed Kachina) and the Koyemsi (Blind Mudhead). Many years ago the tribe had to move from where they lived, either because of drought or warfare. With no horses, they were forced to travel on foot. Two members could not make the journey. One was crippled and the other was blind. They were left with some food and a tearful goodbye – as everyone expected them to die.

Instead the crippled man climbed onto the back of the other and directed him where to walk – also he was able to shoot his bow and arrow to hunt. Together, they survived by cooperating despite their individual weaknesses. The Hopis made kachinas spirits in honor of these two and teach their children how we can overcome problems by working together.

The end of the story was only recently told to me by an elder Hopi man. The Blind Mudhead and Crippled Kachina were roasting rabbit over a campfire when they were approached by a huge and scary Ogre Kachina. The two looked at each other thinking, “just when we were going to survive!” The Ogre pulled back an arrow on his bow, first pointing it at them, and then pointing it down at the fire. 

The Ogre let the arrow fly into the fire and ashes went into the eyes of the Blind Kachina. He rubbed his eyes and could suddenly see again. When the sparks flew up from the fire, they also landed on the legs of the Crippled Kachina. He jumped up to escape the burning sparks and found he could stand and walk again. Healed of their afflictions, they set off and eventually caught up to the tribe and had a joyful reunion."

This beautiful Kachina was created by Raymond Chee.  It stands 13 inches tall. It comes with the original 2009 listing sheet  from Garlands in Sedona

Born in 1961, Raymond Chee is the son of a Navajo father and Hopi mother. Since the Hopi is a matrilineal society, the children take their identity and clan affiliation from their mother, which makes Raymond an official member of the Hopi tribe.

Raymond is a welder by trade, but he began professionally carving Hopi kachina dolls after an accident. As a self-taught artist and carver, Raymond’s kachina dolls and other sculptures are known for well- proportioned anatomy, creative action, and intricate detail. His work is featured in many collections including the Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures Museum at Aurora University in Illiniois.

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