Lenang (Flute) Kachina, 1988
by Clifford Bahnimptewa (1938-1984), Hopi
cottonwood, feathers, pigment
13.5" tall x 5.5" wide x 6" deep
The Flute Kachina is a rarely seen dancer, who appears in the Bean and Mixed Kachina Dances. On his head are representations of flowers, pointing in the four sacred directions. He has long hair and he carries a moisture tablet on his back that will provide water to the earth. In his hand is a flute mouthpiece that resembles a flower. Although this diety is more closely tied to the Zuni, he is adorned with mostly Hopi characteristics, such as the decorated skirt, detailed sash and animal hide hanging from the sash.
Clifford Bahnimptewa was born in 1938 at Old Oraibi on Third Mesa. He was best known for his Katsina paintings, as well he was a fine carver. He grew up around his paternal grandparents, John and Mina Lansa, village leaders who possessed vast knowledge of Hopi history and culture. Clifford is the father of Danny Lansa Bahnimptewa, Larson Bahnimptewa, Roland Bahnimptewa, Steven Bahnimptewa, and cousin of Jacob Bahnimptewa.
In 1968, with encouragement from Sedona trader Don Hoel, Clifford embarked on a three-year effort to paint the 286 Katsina dancers listed in Dr. Harold S Colton's book Hopi Kachina Doll with a key to their Identification. About 237 of Clifford’s paintings were published as illustrations in Barton Wright's book, Kachinas, A Hopi Artist’s Documentary. Author Theda Bassman concluded. "The series is a significant account of one man's understanding of his traditional religion in a time of change."
In 1995, American Indian Art Magazine honored him posthumously as one of the greatest Native American artist in history.