Scrapbook Two Hundred Thirty One…


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








Patriarch of the Remuda…

by forrest fenn

Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian. 



This stallion is 32-inches tall when he stands on his hind legs, like now. A free-spirit expression relaxes on his 75-year old face – don’t you see it? He’d probably admit to having a bad hair day but who cares?




He was named Tohopka (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.

Yazzi carved Tohopka from the solid branch of a pine tree and dressed him in a warm winter ensemble, including a red, white, and blue Pendleton capote that’s fastened by two homemade mother-of-pearl buttons. Solid silver studs decorate the margins of Tohopka’s leather trousers and a classy, red-painted buckskin kilt hangs down in front. A German silver, rocker-engraved rosette holds Tohopka’s red neckerchief in place, but that’s no reason to call him a dude. He’s the monarch of the herd, a fact to which all of the mares and fillies in the remuda surely would attest, if asked.


Tohopka’ll do his job and serve his master, but I can see in his steely eyes that he’s unwilling to be subservient to the institutional norms of everyday reservation life. He’s his own man when not on the job.

Tohopka seems right at home here in my den and he’s not just a decorative piece of sculpture to me. My friends say I’m too personal about these things, and take them too seriously, but what do they know about horses?