2010-01 Tile With Two Navajo Ye’ii Bicheii Beings

Ye’ii Bicheii deities are known as “Grandfather of the Gods” or “Talking Gods” and appear during the last night of the Navajo winter ceremony. Although unsigned, the tile was made by Julian (“Mimps”), the brother of Jake Koopee. Born on 11/26/77, Julian has been making pottery for only about 1.5 years. The polychromatic drawings of the Ye’ii Bicheii are rigid and within a simple boxed border, giving the overall design a cartoon-like feeling. It is unusual for a Hopi potter to depict Navajo deities, though Navajo/Hopi potter Ida Sahmie often paints Yeis on her pots.

Julian lives in Phoenix and generally makes and fires his pots when visiting Jake. The tile is unsigned because it was intended to be thrown to the crowd by a woman participant at a basket dance (O’waqolt) on 11/21/10. The basket dance marks the end of the harvest season. As a gift representing the bounty brought by the katchinas, it would not be proper to indicate a human maker.