Apache/Navajo (Diné) master carver Delbert Upshaw of Teesto, Arizona (1978-2018) created engaging and realistic carvings of Native American life, utilizing the cottonwood root and rich, naturally hued hand-painted colors to bring his characters to life. Finely detailed and filled with drama, his work is a snapshot that captures the enduring strength and commitment of his figures.
His Crown Dancer (2007) is on a wide base with a tree. “Why I attempt to replicate the Crown Dancer (Gahn, or Mountain Spirit) is to give the right understanding and the true nature of a dance that reflects our people and culture. To preserve the essence of whom we are as people of the Gahnn,” Mr. Upshaw noted a few years ago in an artist bio. He went on to say, “The Crown Dancers are an interpretation of the messengers from our four directions, sent to teach us and show us the right way to live as Apaches, and to guide our people with blessings from Yul’sin, our Creator.” Wood-burned signature by the artist.