by Eric Whollem
gouache and wax resist on paper
Collection of the artist
Copyright by the artist
The Big Heads of Chi Chi Te
This mixed media painting is filled with pictographic
symbols that relate to the culture of the Concow Maidu
Indians of Butte County, California.
The large yellow figure in the center is a Big Head, or
masked dancer of the Kuksu Dream Society. The vertical
striations represent the feathers of his cloak.
The Big Head holds a basket, one of several in the painting.
To the upper right hand corner is the paw print of Pano,
the black bear.
In the background is the Dream Lodge of the Secret Society.
This is all part of the Kuksu Religion.
The "farm" mentioned in the title of this painting is the old
Mooretown Rancheria, which in modern times has become
a family owned farm. The old Indian name for this place was
Chi Chi Te, Black Earth Village. There used to be a large
Kuksu Lodge at Chi Chi Te in the old days.
See my posts about the Maidu Indians on this link:
Abstract art, anthropology, Maidu Indians.