Scrapbook Two Hundred Thirty One…

scrapbook

November, 2019

 

Yazzi Yarnell Dolls

I need some help with this one. Not much is known about these dolls. Supposedly, they were made by a Hopi Indian named Yazzi Yarnell who was born about 1900. But Yazzi is more of a Navaho name than Hopi, so I don’t know. 

image1 1

Click to enlarge photo

The antelope figure in the center is 43” tall, a monumental size for a doll. He has real horns. Many of the accouterments on the dolls are genuine historical artifacts that predate the doll. The antique white beaded buffalo on the breast of the figure at far left, is one, and the beaded bald eagle on the second doll, is another. 

I acquired the dolls from a lady who got them at a shop on Canyon Road in Santa Fe about 30 years ago. She was told that Yazzi made 28 such figures for himself, and only after he became elderly, did he decide to sell them. I now have 14 of the 28. 

If any treasure hunter should come across any of the remaining 14 dolls while cruising the internet, I hope that person will contact me. The style of manufacture should recognize them as Yazzi dolls. f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

158 thoughts on “Scrapbook Two Hundred Thirty One…

  1. Very Cool or should I say Kewl 🙂 I will keep my eyes out for them… Could you post a pic of the other 5 you own so we can know what they all look like?

  2. I would love to own dolls like these. Even dolls like Chaos and Embroidery. Maybe I’ll start my own collection one of these days.

    Thank you Forrest!

  3. I’m with you Mr Fenn. And if I spot any of those horny dolls you’re looking for on the internet I will let you know right away.

  4. Dear Forrest:

    So far I’ve found some knock-offs but I also found the one stallion carved from pine. I really like his style- I haven’t seen hair, collar, and feather like that since the flapper era, which got its name from all of the big-dollar coin and shot-glass flipping, as I recall. But, I guess I’m am being anachronysmic about his the accoutrements.

    I’m thinking about trying to find a doll like that in about 3 weeks. I assume they have more of them north of Santa Fe. If not, I’ll check the other Santa.

    Take care,

  5. Yazzi seems to like horns and animal heads. Also, though there is one too many pieces, this resembles a chess board set up to me without the pawns of course. I tend to see 8s all the time because I’m a little superstitious as 8 is my lucky number and when you lay it down it becomes ♾.

    This is off topic but here’s something cool you guys might like. Ask your kids what happens when you cut a piece of paper in half? Have you ever heard of an amoeba strip?

    If not, take say a 1.5″ x 14″ (11″ works too but 14″ is easier to handle) strip of paper and make one twist, then loop it back on itself and tape the ends together so it resembles ♾. Then ask your kids the question again. After they answer use a pair of scissors and carefully cut along, not across, the ‘length‘ of ribbon and see what you end up with. You can repeat this process almost forever if you tool was sharp enough and you could see down to the atomic level, which brings me back to ♾.

    Hope your kids like the results.

    Pinatubocharlie

  6. Forrest, do you still trade with museums? What do you have that the Heard Museum in Phoenix might like to trade. A strong hunch tells me they’re your best source.

    Try the Heard, for a new addition to your herd of beautifully made YY dolls.

        • I agree, Lisa. Navajo. They are not culturally rigid—as indicated in the discussion provided in your last link on Hopi Kachinas. They also show strongly patriotic elements. True, the chevron and rocker dates the second doll circa post ‘68, but this fits the timeline of acquisition Forrest told of in this scrapbook. This doll would be the later work of YY, the artist, while the others may be contemporary or earlier creations. I also note the two legion of merit medals are facsimiles of French—not American—medals, which have origins in the Napoleonic era, and which may or may not have had symbolic significance to the artist, or they may have Simply been ornaments of convenience, placed to indicate a general theme. The recognition of the Navajo code talkers comes to mind.

        • Forrest – My fly fishing librarian friend happened upon this book late Saturday, which I am checking to see if it is being removed from the collections:

          https://www.librarycat.org/lib/IPCCLibrary/item/111874940

          It referenced and depicted only 4 Navaho-style Katsinas, one of which had antelope horns on its head.

          Wondering if the Antelope headed doll, arranged 5th from the left in your lineup, represents the 5th clue in the Poem? I see White Stars, which I have said, many times and in many ways, could be the blaze.

          Let me know if you would like me to send you this 1969 second printing of the 1962 second edition of this beautiful 1903 book. It is in perfect condition.

  7. W O W Forrest;

    What a lovely collection. A 43″ tall “doll” is certainly unique. So glad that you have the 14, I am sure that they are very important to you, and that they probably contain all kinds of secrets. I will keep my eye open for the other 14. Good luck. 🙂 JDA

    • Afana – You’re back! Good one!

      So, is clue #9 in the Poem?:

      “If you are brave and in the wood,
      I give you title to the gold.”

      Yazzi Yarnell – Two Y’s or ‘wise’?:

      Is this clue #7 in the Poem?:

      “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
      Look quickly down your quest to cease.”

      Tohopka was made of pine. And so is the Ponder•O•S•A pine, which is my final blaze. And horses have horseshoes. When you turn two upside down, they look like a double omega. But, then, your luck runs out. Like Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer’s did, while riding his thoroughbred horse, Victory, into battle, at Little Bighorn.

      Have you seen Cynthia and Sally Colorado’s great Chaos and Embroidery BOTG search, located ‘in the wood’, 8.25 miles North of Santa Fe? I thought Forrest did deserve an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Rusted horseshoes were featured as the final blaze. I want Quanah Parker’s peace Pipe. And that can of Grapette Soda.

  8. Yazzi did a great job making those dolls. Very detailed. Hope you’ll get to find more, Mr. Fenn. How does one know it was made by him? Is there some kind of tag or some other distinguished markings?

  9. Thanks, Forrest, for sharing your dolls. They are so kool. If I find another of their kind, I will be sure to tell you.

    It’s funny, though, that they all appear to be herd animals, except that pretty little cougar. Best of all, it seems that good things come in multiples of 9!

  10. Being in business takes a lot of work. Sometimes you have to think about cutting a deal. I was at my contract attorneys office last week and we worked a plan with a hand shake which was very important and he knew it. He knows that you just have to walk away and be lucky to get half your mind back. I suppose if I went looking for dolls I would find myself in deeper trouble than from the start. I had plans but sometimes they don’t work out too well. There are 9 reasons now that help me get though the day but it is the last one I suppose I need not to worry about because it all comes out in the wash.
    I am in my last quarter of my life and I want to enjoy it the way it should be. I think of those who have been there for me. I do not hear much from them anymore and I wish they would contact me and share laughs about the good times.

    • Hello GEYDELKON. Live life to the fullest. Rather than waiting for those to contact you, perhaps try reaching out first to them for it may be they may have the same thought as you…I wish they would contact me.

      • Hi pdenver, I hope you and the family are doing well. I couldn’t be better and I still remember everyone having a nice time at the event earlier this year. We checked our guns at the door and it all worked out. I do plan to head up on I-25 again to bring those memories back into play. I am sure you will be getting an email from us soon. February seems to be a good time for me and its when I take lots of trips. I can’t really deal with the other months of the year especially my birthday month of March. Its because I am always short on time or maybe its the clock on the wall that needs a new battery. I knew I should of changed it during daylights savings time.
        But then I might just go all the way up to I-70 this winter to see if I can get stuck in the snow. I love playing in the snow.

        An Indian Saint and A Scout

  11. They are all very handsome and it seems to me that each one of them has their own unique story to tell . . . or to keep secret. I wonder what #2 (the second from the left) has hidden in his Calvary knapsack.

  12. Forrest, thank you so much for sharing your stories. I love reading them, and your writing style is so clever and unique. You have coined many a new phrase, and they have got to absolutely be the envy of any writer!

  13. Dear Forrest, have you named the 9 dolls in this photo as you did Tohopka?

    Where are the other 5 of your 14?
    I guess it’s good to be in the middle again at 14 of 28.

    Each is so interesting, and I would love to hear what you named them.

  14. Regarding the Patriarch of the Remuda, since Michael H found out: “He was named Tohopka (Means) (Wild Beast) by his maker, Yazzie Yarnell, who lives on the Hopi Reservation in Northern Arizona. Last I heard, he was 93-years old, but that was a while ago.”f

    Why is the number 28 in here, hole in one on #4 times 7 Iron is ? 28, why not e in Yazzie, is it to distinguish from Navajo Nation spelling to Hopi? Hopi are more like Chaco Canyon or Puebloan than true Athabaskan Tribes like Navajo or Apache….The One know as (Wild Beast) here is #7 in the order of dolls from left to right? 7 Iron, hole in one Iron, SC Book 230, Iron Tail?

    WOW what has an “Iron Tail” and it’s made of IRON yet gallops like a wild horse always has a wire next to it for passing or singing as a telegraph pole…A, an.Hondo without the RR”S.

    Thank You Forrest for the San Juan Basin revealing the Chili line for Christs Church and opening the great seal for us to see. Now if the sands of time will allow me to get there before a claim jumper jack s me up.

    TT

  15. Hi ya Forrest,
    An interesting collection of kachinas.
    A quick search lead me to this posting on eBay, I am aware of the subtle differences.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Signed-VTG-NATIVE-AMERICAN-Museum-Quality-Indians-KACHINA-Spirit-Doll-Figure-8/223463364309?hash=item34077456d5:g:BkIAAOSwXtta~c1H. The style is close but lacks a certain feature that says it may not be by the same artist.

    After a brief search for the artist, I believe one would be more successful finding the dolls you are in search of in estate sales or thrift shops in Az, N.M, and possibly Ut.
    Thank you for sharing Forrest.

    HDD

    • Maybe we should be looking at the thing he said to look at. And maybe when we do it we should look for the kind of thang he pointed out in the place he said it’d be?

    • I think you are right. They do look like chess pieces. Except, there are eight chess pieces on the back row of a chess board and we have nine dolls. 2 castles, 2 horses, 2 priests, a queen and The King.

      The King seems to be holding the hand of a suspiciously proportioned extra piece. Almost as if it was a wild little prince.

  16. Forrest, is it just me or does the arrow being held by the second doll seem to be off? Is it just well wrapped, or is it a point an a metal sleeve? Can’t tell from the picture. It also appears to be bamboo. That would be odd.

  17. First, let me say that those dolls are amazing. I can only imagine the time spent on the careful assembly of each one. Personally, my feeling is that those dolls were created in the telling fo a story, perhaps the evolution of the native peoples. I say this because it seems that many of the spirit idols are clothed in U.S. military dress, perhaps these symbolizing the many native American scouts who participated in the military’s pursuit of sequestering the native peoples. That’s my takeaway on some of them.

    I also think the collective story appears to be speaking to the past and the present as some of the more recognizable traditional symbols appear to pre-date the arrival of the white man. But hey, I’m just guessing, but also find curiosity in the total number of 28 and can only wonder how the unknown dolls might appear? Perhaps the community can help to locate more of them and more information on them. You can bet that they’re certainly going try!

  18. i’ve learned Hopi Kachina are carved from the root of a cottonwood tree – cured under the earth making it soft and easy to carve — usually painted details — hands and feet are proportional — you wont find fur or other materials like fabric, leather or beads on a Hopi. I would say these are Navaho inspired and created dolls.

  19. All are wonderful. After studying the picture closely, my favorite is the fifth from the left…er, the fifth from the right…the one in the middle:) the bone-handled knife and six-shooter add some flare!
    atb

    • That’s my favorite too! Except, it looks like he might have a mustard stain on its chest there.

      Shouldn’t be putting mustard on your hotdog if you’re eating from your horse.

  20. My big sister had a few Barbies and a Miss Beasley doll.

    One day while nobody was paying attention to me I tore Miss Beasley apart trying to figure out how the string-pull made that doll talk.

    She is no longer angry about that and took it pretty well at the time.

  21. Since Tohopka (3rd from the right) is 32″, we can assume that Yazzi Yarnell dolls measure about 30″ or more. They are also slimly built with long arms and comparatively short legs. They also all have animal heads, hoof hands and black bases.

  22. Seems like it’s about the two 28 , from a numbers perspective. There’s a change that happened? Something about the last line to see? Saw it.

    IMO .

    • @Alsetenash, seems like it may also be about the number 9. FF speaks about 28 total and being steward of 14, but in the end he chose to line up 9. I’m enjoying the detailed accoutrements, #8 with the X Purse and military medal is using his arrow to point at #9’s sacred white buffalo “Big Medicine”.

      • Hmm? Is not the White Buffalo #1 and purse with X number #2?

        “The antique white beaded buffalo on the breast of the figure at far left, is one, and the beaded bald eagle on the second doll, is another. ”

        In reverse is #8 and #9?

        IMO .

          • #42. Who knows, just perspectives shared is all we do. The Eagle means “Spirit” and the bigger picture view in Native American totem. White Buffalo means “prosperity and abundance” . If this FYI helps at all. I dunno .

            Not the Usual Suspects here.

            IMO

        • I once got inside the fence with a white buffalo for a better picture. I pushed my luck. I told myself the odds of getting stomped by a white buffalo must be astronomical. Turns out I may have been right. He let me know in no uncertain terms that he cared not for odds and at the very least, I may soon be seeing stars. g

          • Ace, I have a lot of respect for your posts. Would you say getting inside the fence for your picture of the Buffalo would be subsequent, or at least comparable, to getting inside the fence at Independence Hall to ring a bell for liberty?

          • Fences have always bothered me. Who would put a fence there? That’s right where I was going. But over time I have come to realize that they are there for a reason. Mostly safety for both sides of the fence. The answer to my fence problem is simple. It is to find places, without a fence. g

          • Will respond to you here and down below in this thread Ace — just want to say your two cents is always genuinely appreciated.

          • Regarding your last comment about fences — some BillyBob once said to never take a fence down until you understand why it was put up in the first place. Makes a heck of a lot of sense (had to get just one more “sense” in there, now I’ve done that tired). Thanks again Ace.

      • 42 – I think Yazzi Yarnell was attempting to depict Custer’s Indian Scouts with Doll#2 (next to my ‘Custer Doll’ #3?):

        https://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/crow-scouts-play-part-in-little-bighorn-battle/article_6d406252-61c5-563b-8048-ef42546de5e6.amp.html

        Probably Curly, their leader, depicted by the Eagle. Hence, the arrow. He escaped, and watched from afar. Those scouts deserved a medal, as much as Custer did.

        IMO.

        • Lisa, I enjoyed reading this article about the Scouts at Little Big Horn. Each time that I drive through the Crow, Blackfoot & Salish reservations I’m thankful their people were able to remain on the lands of their ancestors. Although their quality of life was forever altered.

  23. I happened to stumble upon a vintage katsina doll signed by a “yazzie”. Seems to be a different style but similar, who knows maybe it’s one of his later works. I ordered it anyhow as a token of the chase to add to my collection, it’s coming from Arizona. I will email you some pictures when I get it and if you would like you can tell me what you think about him. I haven’t decide on what I’m going to name it yet. I should probably wait until it arrives and I’ll let it educate me on what it wants to be called.

    Thanks Forrest!
    Dave

  24. Thank you Mr. Fenn. I find it interesting that “YAZZI ” name resembles YUEZHI” (Kushans) name in Kashgar China.
    Be blessed
    Zvia ben ami, Israel.

  25. Forrest,

    For some reason, I am drawn to Tohopka in the line up. There’s something about him that catches my eye and draws me into the scene.

    s

  26. Afana – You’re back! Good one!

    So, is clue #9 in the Poem?:

    “If you are brave and in the wood,
    I give you title to the gold.”

    Yazzi Yarnell – Two Y’s or ‘wise’?:

    Is this clue #7 in the Poem?:

    “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
    Look quickly down your quest to cease.”

    Tohopka was made of pine. And so is the Ponder•O•S•A pine, which is my final blaze. And horses have horseshoes. When you turn two upside down, they look like a double omega. But, then, your luck runs out. Like Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer’s did, while riding his thoroughbred horse, Victory, into battle, at Little Bighorn.

    Have you seen Cynthia and Sally Colorado’s great Chaos and Embroidery BOTG search, located ‘in the wood’, 8.25 miles North of Santa Fe? I thought Forrest did deserve an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Rusted horseshoes were featured as the final blaze. I want Quanah Parker’s peace Pipe. And that can of Grapette Soda.

    • I must be lame as I do not see any clues in his blog – only the desire to teach something about history which he does very well, much like his father did – the Yazzie dolls are so amazing – I couldn’t find anything yet on Y. Yarnell only the previous reference to the bad hair day Stallion Tohopka – buy hey I found some really interesting Native American silver marks – thanks Forrest – I have learned something every time I have met / interacted with you !

  27. Forrest – I think I see Rover the Mountain Lion, second from the right. But, I don’t see My Grizz. Sad. I think they were extinct in New Mexico by 1900, when Yazzi Yarnell was born.

    But who needs an oversized Navajo doll, when your Search Buddy is Bart the Bear II?:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B41IYMcAHUW/?igshid=191qokdb9a7aq

    He just started following me on Instagram, and I followed back today. It’s only a matter of time now.

    Giggles.

  28. Possibly these originally were dolls, yet somehow now they seam like soldiers. It would sounds better that Forrest is searching for Tribal Indian fetish’s; (otherwise he will have to turn in his Alpha man card), JK. With Forrest’s incredible veteran service I am guessing he is the lead beast here.

  29. I see a young buck with some dirt on his chaps. He’s clearly patriotic and he looks to be holding the hand of his young’en.

    The story makes me think Forrest is conducting some business with us and the camera used a flash. TCB in a flash.

    The dolls look to be lined up like the back row of a chess board and the buck is in the Kings position.

    The buffalo necklace makes me think of that time in 1957 where Elvis rocked Buffalos Memorial Auditorium. That performance is famous for snapping him out of a funk.

    I think it’s okay to say that the buck is wearing a patriotic jumpsuit.

    The eagle reminds me of Elvis’ famous cape.

    When I look on the breast of the buck, over the heart, my imagination tells me I’m seeing the face of The King himself in profile. The sideburns look pretty obvious to me.

    The upside down PFC rank reminds me that Elvis was drafted, offered some cushy gigs and turned them all down to be a private and serve like any other GI. He chose the hard high road.

    He joined the Second Armored Division (Hell on Wheels) at 22 years old and was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas.

    It was in Arkansas where they cut his famous hair and he said, “Hair today, gone tomorrow.” Hence the animal figures.

    Later he was transferred to the Third Armored “Spearhead” Division.

    Elvis served in Germany in a scout platoon and on his first day in Friedberg he received “a royal escort” and a famous photograph was taken.

    Elvis was determined to be treated as any other soldier would because:

    “I was in a funny position. Actually, that’s the only way it could be. People were expecting me to mess up (laughs), to goof up in one way or another. They thought I couldn’t take it and so forth, and I was determined to go to any limits to prove otherwise, not only to the people who were wondering, but to myself’.

    I believe there is more to this story and I bring all of this to your attention to say one thing:

    “Never leave Forrest Fenn in a room alone with a dead horse, because he will beat the tar out of it.”
    -AkB-

    • I was stationed in Friedburg, while there I seen a pink Cadillac pack full of Elvis impersonators drive through post, stayed in the same barracks, and got my hair cut by the same barber who had cut Elvis’s hair.

  30. I like the guy in the middle! He has stars like the ones on the cover of OUAW. And he’s tall with a strong backbone. His face has a blaze similar to that animal skin in TTOTC. I wonder if I can borrow him this winter as I build up the nerve for another trip? I can swing his horns at the big Bear I’ll probably wake up with my loud clomping. He also has pretty turquoise stones that remind me of the bracelet.

  31. Oh yes, and thanks for the respect. Often times in my societal life I get no, but that’s ok. One can still achieve great things Knowing great is perspectives opinion, flying under the radar. g

  32. Elvis is The King of Rock’n Roll. He inspired billions. He did his best to do the right thing and spread himself too thin trying to be everything for everyone.

    Nothing about Elvis is crap and that includes those cheesy commemorative dinner plates they put his face on.

    You can’t judge a person by one point in their life. People are more complex than that.

    And if you don’t think that is a clue then you are missing the moral of the story.

    You can’t understand the rest of the hints that are sprinkled in until you find wwwh and enter The Chase.

    IMLTHO -AkB

  33. Forrest, I got a hot lead on the other Yazzie dolls today! And when I say hot, I mean someone physically seen them in the last couple weeks! Im hoping to track them down in the next few days.

    This chase is almost as exciting as the treasure. Thanks Forrest!

  34. … Woa!!! These dolls bring to mind an old friend. Curious Hobbit. Hobbs! Buddy where are ya? Hobbs? Dude are you lurking? That guy was the best searcher ever. He is totally gonna find the treasure.

  35. If the antelope figure in the center is 43” tall and Tohopka, the figure made out of pine wood, is 32″ tall, then the deer/elk figure (second from the left) must be around 35″ tall?

  36. The Hogback trading post ! Yazzie) if my memory is correct was connected to the old trading post . All the old ones are no longer there. A little research might be worth the effort.

  37. Two of these dolls are sporting what looks to be
    medals on their chests. They appear to be
    the Legion of Merit, which is one notch above
    the Distinguished Flying Cross and one below
    the Defense Superior Service Medal.
    This is curious to me. Are they reproductions
    or actual awards? And whose? I know Forrest
    received many. Are these his? I really can’t
    imagine anyone being willing to part with
    something like that, even for the sake of art.
    Could he be trying to show us that the 9
    clues (9 animals) have become so camouflaged
    by the what if’s and maybes that they have become
    unrecognizable for what they are and we need to
    strip away the decorations and speculations and just
    look at the bones underneath to understand them?

  38. Oh Forrest ! I wish I had seen these dolls when I visited you. I love dolls. These appear to be art dolls to me . I will read everyone’s posts later , right now my eyes are telling me to get off the computer. Now I know you love a good story , this sounds like one of them to me.

  39. Similar style Katsina figure https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/751525

    Hiilili Kokko (Katsina Figure)
    ca. 1900
    Zuni, Native American

    This Zuni Hiilili figure represents one of the hundreds of katsinam—immortal beings that bring rain, protect, teach, heal, and carry prayers to the spirit world—recognized by Pueblo peoples. The katsinam assume physical form during ceremonies to dance and present these figures to young girls, and the carvings hang in the girls’ homes afterward. In the late nineteenth century, makers began to produce katsina figures, also called kachina dolls, to sell to the outside market.

  40. Another similar
    https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/717591

    White Ogre Tihu (Katsina Figure)
    ca. 1900
    Hopi

    A katsina is a spirit being who serves as a cultural guide in Hopi and Zuni communities. Young girls often receive a tihu, or katsina doll, as a cherished gift. This tihu takes the form of the ogre Nata’aska, who visits Hopi villages to discourage bad behavior and to remind children of their responsibilities to their community. This figure carries a bone-cutting saw and is dressed in traditional regalia, including a wraparound kilt, a concha belt, and a brocaded hip sash. In the 1920s, Hopi and Zuni carvers began to carve katsina dolls to sell to tourists, as demand for Native American souvenirs grew steadily at the turn of the century. The movable arms and added, rather than painted, garments suggest this figure was likely made for such a market.

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