Whipper Kachina Doll by Tino Youvella

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This Vintage Kachina Doll stands 16 inches tall.  He features the yucca sticks which were used in the ceremonies to whip children and misbehaving  adults into shape. He has the black yarn around one arm.  Decorated cuff bracelet on the other.  Woven leggings show above the painted and leather fringed boots.  He has two arm bands and a red  sash.  He is made from Cottonwood Root and decorated with a fur collar, feather headdress and his ears are pierced with feathers.  His teeth have been carved.  He is hand painted and has the carved belt and sash. I believe this is a 1960's or before KaChina Doll by a well known Carver Celestino Youvella.  It is signed by the Carver on the bottom.

Tino (short for Celestino) is a kachina doll carver from First Mesa in Polacca, Arizona, where he and his wife, Geraldine, have raised six children. Tino is of the Kachina/Parrot Clan belonging to the Village of Sitsomovi (Sichomovi) at Hopi. He began carving kachina dolls in 1962, and with limited employment opportunities in fire fighting, he pursued carving to supplement his income. Tino is a self-taught artist who used books to study and practice carving anatomy. He continued carving while he worked other positions including being an auto mechanic and even assisting making dentures in Phoenix until about 1980. During that time, his carving talent was recognized and encouraged by collectors/photographers and authors, Lois and Jerry Jacka, and by traders Bruce and Ron McGee. There was a high demand for his dolls, and he has been carving ever since.

While some carvers are known for specializing in certain figures, Tino is known for his versatility, capturing the essence of a great variety of figures. His wife Geraldine often helps with the sanding and painting of the dolls. Their sons, Alexander, Preston and Darrell are also kachina doll carvers, and their four grandsons are helping to carry on this family tradition. Tino is the brother-in-law of Leo LaCapa, another noted carver of this family, who is of the Water/Corn Clan and has also been featured at The Indian Craft Shop as a highlighted artist.

Kachinas (Katsinas) are central to the traditional religion of the Hopi people of Northern Arizona. A kachina is a supernatural being relied upon to provide rain, fertility, health, balance and well-being. Each year in elaborate ceremonies, men of the Hopi villages dress and personify themselves for dances to represent and call upon the different kachinas. Kachina doll carvings are representations of the dancers/kachinas, and while they play a role in many Pueblo societies, the Hopi are the most noted and prolific in kachina doll carving. The dolls have long been used to instruct Hopi children in the ways of the traditional religious cycles and to help them learn and identify the hundreds of different beings. The carvings convey the movement of the dancer and the specific traits of the mask, clothing, dress and accessories.

Tino’s kachina dolls are carved from cottonwood root and generally range from 8” - 14” tall. Because cottonwood root is often scarce, the wood is used to its fullest advantage: Tino carves the head and body from one piece and then carves any accessories, feather accents, etc. separately. A wood-burning iron is used for detailed designs on the dolls and then the dolls are painted.


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