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Half Moon, Whole Moon Dolls, c. 1980 by Shona-Hah (1912-1997)

Half Moon, Whole Moon Dolls, c. 1980 by Shona-Hah (1912-1997)

Regular price $3,200.00 Sale

Half Moon, Whole Moon Dolls, c. 1980
by Shona-Hah (1912-1997)

red cedar masks, wool, buttons, wood, hair
14” tall x 9” wide x 9” deep
note: the cedar half moon and whole moon masks were carved by Lelooska 

Young Half Moon and Elder Whole Moon squabble relentlessly about who will come out that night. Finally, the chief of the tribe exhausted by the bickering, creates the solution, "We will have a dance contest, whoever wins will come out tonight." Young Half Moon is brash and full of herself. She is sure that she will win with her modern dance moves. As she dances, she solicited votes from the audience. The booing ensues, nobody is amused by Half Moon's antics! Now it is Whole Moon's turn. With elegant, gentle motions she dances around the fire in the traditional way. Whole moon is humble and wise. The audience is mesmerized, and are instantly won over. That night, Whole Moon won the right to ascend to the sky.

Shona-Hah (Mary Smith) is the mother of Lelooska, Kwunkwa-dzi, Patty Fawn, and Tsungani. She was born in a black walnut log cabin in Oklahoma's old Cherokee Nation. There, she was given the name Shona-Hah, "gray dove". Her Kwakiutl name, Tl'alilhilugwa, bestowed in 1968 by , means "whale rising".

Shona-Hah's life bespeaks her Indian heritage. In her youth, she both trained horses and rode in races and exhibitions. As a small child, she began participating in the traditional dances and continued throughout her life. Always interested in all facets of Indian art, she excelled at beadwork, skin sewing, carving, painting, and doll making.

Her dolls are valued highly by private collectors and museums as illustrations of vanished cultures. They bring alive both ceremonial and every day events in the lives of the people of many different North American tribes. From the Osage of Oklahoma to the Kwakwaka'wakw of British Columbia, she draws on first-hand knowledge of the cultures and the memories of the Old Ones for her inspiration.

Shona-Hah's children credit her with their love and respect for Indian art and traditions. She taught them the skills she had acquired and sacrificed to help them become artists in their own right. "She and our grandfather imparted to us that which was to become the essence of our heritage." says Lelooska.

Passing away in October of 1997, Shona-Hah occupied a place of major importance in the family structure. A cohesive element in the group, she was also an important contributor to the educational dance programs. She not only participated in them, she also made many of the costumes.