The Virgil Long Collection
The following four carvings are an exciting offering of great significance. Ol’ Swaphos has managed to find and then acquire a collection within a collection. This collection exemplifies not only artistic progression over time, but it heralds the inter-generational growth from the teacher (Grandfather) in the 20th Century through the growth stages of the student (Grandson) in the late 20th-early 21st Century – noted contemporary Hopi artist Virgil Long. (Click on picture for a close-up view of the collection. The individual Kachinas are described and pictured below.)
Study the work of Grandfather Long and see how his well-proportioned figure of the Snake Dancer is executed with the craftsmanship typical of the period. Next note the early work of Virgil, who demonstrates great skill and artistry for a youngster in his Harvest Girl Kachina. In fact, his mastery of the art already exceeds his mastery of the spelling of the word “Girl” above his characteristic “V. Long” signature. Then jump ahead to the year 2001 and appreciate a studied leap forward in style and detail, as well as mastery of color application, in his Turtle Maiden. Finally, in 2006 we have the full emergence of potential museum-caliber artistry in the scope, detailed carving, and use of color techniques that in one piece, his Long Hair Kachina, uses the color of the natural wood, a subtle blending gradation technique, and finally the application of typical bold and vibrant colors of Kachinas from across the ages.
These Kachinas, now combined into one collection, will not be broken and again separated. They cry out to remain united in the collection of one discerning and appreciative collector. The collection will include a digital photograph of Virgil Long applying the color to the very same Long Hair Kachina that you are buying in this collection. This picture was made at a demonstration by Virgil at Winslow, Arizona in 2006 where he finished and signed your carving.
Long Snake Dancer Kachina
Chusona, or Snake Dancer, is mistakenly taken for a Kachina. He’s actually a society personage, and one of great popularity. The Snake Dance has always held a intense fascination for the non-Hopi, and in consequence, effigies of this personage have been carved for many years. Snake Dancers are actually social dancers who appear in mid-August. During the performance, the Snake priests, accompanied by the Antelope priests, dance with live rattlesnakes and/or bull snakes in their mouths. This dance has been closed to non-Hopi since 1986 as a result of overly rowdy Anglo spectators who became offensive to the Hopi religious sensibilities. This is Snake Dancer created by Virgil Long’s grandfather, ca 1940-1970. He is dressed in a fur headdress, with additional fur adorning his loincloth and boots. Particular notice should be taken of this dancer’s loincloth, which although it appears to be leather, is actually pieces of an oilcloth typical of tablecloths used in the era. Remember, Hopi people practice the waste-not-want-not virtue necessary to maintain harmony with nature. Signed on the bottom of the base by the artist. This piece stands 9" high x 3" wide x 3" deep and is signed on the bottom of its base by the artist. (Click on picture for more images, and click here to learn more about Kachinas.)
Virgil Long Harvest Girl Kachina
The Harvester Kachina is one of many Corn Dancers who appear in the late spring in Kachina dances. Their function is to promote the growth of the corn crop. This is Hopi artist Virgil Long’s interpretation of a Harvest Girl Kachina. Here, as a youngster, Virgil demonstrates the combination of well-proportioned carving, as well as the use of adornments shown so well in Grandfather Long’s Snake Dancer Kachina. But Virgil already demonstrates an emerging style of his own. Rather than featuring the figure’s loin cloth or kilt as an add-on adornment, Virgil portrays this part of the figure’s costume as part of the carving itself. The added adornments consist of brightly-colored yarn, which Virgil artistically applies to create the typical Hana characteristics to the figure’s head, with an applied ruff in a complimentary color. Then he creates a midriff belt that utilizes all three of the bright colors, woven into a typical Native American arrowhead pattern. His paint application is excellent for such a youngster, and his use of colors again unites this piece remarkably well. This piece stands 11-1/2" high x 5" wide x 3-1/2" deep and is signed on the bottom of its base by the artist. (Click on picture for more images, and click here to learn more about Kachinas.)
Virgil Long Turtle Maiden Kachina
This beautiful Hopi Turtle Maiden Kachina is representative of the earth spirit and was carved out of cottonwood and hand painted by renowned Hopi Kachina carver Virgil Long in 2001. It speaks to an energy of long ago within the Native American culture. Turtles are water creatures and Turtle Maiden Kachinas are especially associated with water. A Turtle Maiden’s long beard represents falling rain. Here we find Virgil in the 21st Century, where he demonstrates what the Hopi might call a fullness of spirituality in his ability to bring that spiritual quality to his Kachinas. We now see the full progression from his emerging style in his Harvest Kachina, where he used the wood itself to convey a greater portrayal of costume. Here in the Turtle Maiden, Virgil has honed his individual style to the point where, with other contemporary Hopi artists, he is able to convey everything with his exquisitely detailed carving and application of color. Virgil is well on his way to becoming a museum-quality artist. This is a signed piece measuring 6-3/4" tall x 1-3/4" wide x 3" deep. (Click on picture for more images, and click here to learn more about Kachinas.)
Virgil Long Long Hair Kachina
Angak'china, the Long-Haired Kachina, is a bringer of gentle rains and flowers. He is the Kokokshi of Zuni, and yet he appears in almost all of the pueblos from the Hopi to the Rio Grande. He is a favorite of the Hopi. His songs are melodic and the dance is a beautiful one to see in the springtime. The dancers' long hair, worn loose down the back, resembles the falling rain, with the eagle breast plumes rising like clouds above it. These Kachinas are occasionally used for the Niman Ceremony on First Mesa. Many varieties of the Long-Hair Kachina exist: Barefoot, Bounding, Navajo, Tewa, and Lightning, to name the most frequently carved. Spring forward five years and we see the fruition of Virgil Long’s potential. This is his 2006 rendition of Long Hair Kachina and it is so identified and signed by him on the bottom of the base. Beautifully detailed carving and painting and a very impressive size. Stands 14" tall x 2-3/4" wide and 2-1/2" deep. (This is the Kachina for which we have a digital photo of Virgil as he began painting it.) Beyond the descriptive words used above, nothing can enhance the self-evident artistry, except to suggest that mere photographs cannot do this piece justice. (Click on picture for more images, and click here to learn more about Kachinas.) Tell a friend.
Price for the collection: $1,850.00 + s/h and insurance