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A glass decorative tray with six Hopi Kachina figures

by Oswald (White Bear) Fredericks, 1970

This is a marvelous and unusual piece with a most interesting history. Hopi artist and cultural historian Oswald Fredericks, also known by his Hopi name, Kocha Honawa, or “White Bear” grew up in Old Oraibi Village on the Hopi third mesa as the nephew of the famous Oraibi village chief and Kachina carver, Wilson Fredericks, known as “Tawaquaptewa” or “Sun in the Sky”. Oswald’s father, Charles Fredericks, was also a renowned kachina carver so it is little wonder that young Oswald followed in their illustrious footsteps and by the 1960’s White Bear was considered one of the leading Kachina carvers at Hopi and was also an excellent painter.

Over the years, White Bear met and eventually became very close friends with Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater who was an extremely avid collector of Kachina dolls. Goldwater purchased and specially commissioned a great many kachina dolls from White Bear, most of which today are now in the Goldwater Collection at Phoenix’s Heard Museum. Goldwater also commissioned Fredericks to create a series of Kachina-oriented designs for various household items such as glass trays like this one, plates and nut dishes which were produced in limited editions and sold in Goldwater’s family department store in the Phoenix area and elsewhere around the Southwest.

Some of these pieces were produced in conjunction with the famous Fred Harvey Company and were also sold in Fred Harvey trading posts at the Grand Canyon and elsewhere. This tray is one of those pieces.

It is simply entitled “Hopi Kachinas” and it features a design of six full standing Hopi Kachina figures from an original painting by White Bear Fredericks. There is a descriptive panel on the reverse of the tray written by White Bear explaining Hopi Kachinas in general and the purpose and significance of each  of the six kachinas depicted in the painting on the tray. The description ends with a Fred Harvey Company copyright from 1970. The glass tray measures 8” in height by 14” in width and is in excellent original condition. A fascinating and unusual piece of Southwestern history and art which makes for a beautiful and decorative display.

Price $375

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