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Turquoise & Tufa

Large Virgil and Shirley Benn Pin Pendant Of A Koyaala

Large Virgil and Shirley Benn Pin Pendant Of A Koyaala

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A Koyaala or Koshare is a clown that will appear at Hopi dances to enliven the crowd with wild, outrageous behavior that often elicits roars of laughter. They're easily recognizable and often favorite participants in the dances.

This inlay Koyaala figure is a pin or a pendant and it's expertly handmade by Virgil and Shirley Benn. They've skillfully used a handful of materials including turquoise, jet, shell and malachite to create a detailed dancing clown almost drunk on his beloved watermelon. A wearable work of art, this Koshare uses both mosaic and channel set inlay to achieve movement and personality. It's not surprising because husband and wife team Virgil and Shirley Benn are masters of inlay - especially their katsina figures.

Virgil is from Zuni Pueblo and Shirley is from Hopi, the daughter of Daisy Hooee Nampeyo, an adept potter who also learned to create exceptional inlay jewelry from her one-time husband, the renowned Leo Poblano of Zuni Pueblo. Shirley Benn is also the Great-granddaughter of Nampeyo of Hano. How's that for artistic lineage.

This Koyaala pin/pendant is made to bring you joy and laughter. Wear it as a reminder to not take yourself so seriously and to maybe even dance your heart out. 

Pin/pendant measures a very large 4" x 2 1/2" and is signed on the reverse.

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