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Kachina dolls of Crow Mother were plenty twenty years ago but are not as commonly made today.

Hopi Kachina Dolls History and Meaning

Kachina Dolls - a brief history - YouTube

Hopi Kachina figure - Wikipedia
Kachina doll making today involves both tradition and artistry. Kachina dolls are traditionally carved from the roots of cottonwood trees which once were abundant on and near the Hopi lands. The Hopi word for cottonwood root is paako, which means water wood, and the cotton-wood root's ability to seek and find abundant water mirrors the ability of the katsinam to do the same for the Hopi people.

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Traditional Dolls; Contemporary Dolls; View All; Katsina dolls, or kachina dolls as many people know them, are representations of the Katsina spirits.
Although kachina dolls are often given to Hopi children, they are not a toy. From about one-year old until they are ten, Hopi girls receive two dolls each year. A well-carved kachina doll is easy to admire as a work of art, but the real spirit of tihu is found within. Kachina dolls are representations of benevolent spirit beings who live among the Hopi for a six-month period each year. They first arrive on the Hopi mesas in February and return to their spiritual homes in July. Kachina tradition is unique only to the Pueblo Tribes of Arizona and New Mexico. Kachina's are spiritual rain messengers that bring special blessings as an indigenous part of Hopi spirituality; the .


During Kachina ceremonies, each child receives their own doll

Some kachina dolls arise from the history of one of three mesas that make up the Hopi Reservation, while other kachina dolls and their stories are common among all mesas. Over time, kachina doll stories from one mesa may be …
Objects appearing in the hands of the kachina dolls, often indicate to some degree what he does or who he is. For example, these items might include bows, rattles, sticks, staffs, yucca whips, or even a sword-like affair, a saw, or a butcher knife. Yucca whips are appropriately carried by the Whipper Kachinas, to be used to strike blows on the young initiates and on each other during the proper ceremony. Or such whips may also be in the hands of some of the Guard Kachinas, to be used, if necessary, to keep crowds from moving in too close to a ceremony. One or two sticks will be carried in the hands of Deer, Antelope, and some other Animal Kachinas to represent their front legs. Disciplinary Ogre Kachinas are frequently equipped with all too realistic butcher knives or saws, bows and clubs to frighten the children, or they carry baskets on their backs into which they might threaten to throw a naughty child.

The Navajo Hummingbird Kachina doll appears during the dances of the Soyohim or Kiva dances. He is very fast Kachina so he may appear as a runner.
Kachina doll figures are meticulously hand-carved and painted by a small number of artistswho have won the cultural honor of making them, and they are priced accordingly.

Kachina - Meanings and Types of Kachina Dolls

Necklaces, bow guards, earrings, and bracelets are also made of these materials. Clothing runs the gamut from carved and painted semblances on the wood to actual pieces of cloth with proper decoration on each garment. Fur from small native animals have long been favored for ruffs about the neck; today these may be replaced by commercial fur. Formerly colored feathers from specific birds were used to decorate the headpieces of specific kachinas; today feathers come from domestic fowl or sparrows, or are carved.

Masks are the most important part of the doll, as is true in the kachina which it represents, for this feature truly identifies the kachina's persona. Certain Hopi customs are reflected in some kachina details; so too are some of their legends or myths. When young girls are ready for marriage their hair is done up in two great whorls, one at each side of the head, as represented in many "Kachin Manas" or female kachinas. However, on Warrior Maiden there is one whorl only, with the hair at the other side of the head hanging loose. The story goes that long ago this maiden was dressing when the enemy suddenly appeared. Although her hair was but half done, she picked up her father's weapons and successfully defended her village.

In the modern doll, anatomy is frequently well presented, which is another great advance in carving. In the currently well-made pieces, not only is there modeling in form but also a show of muscles, in both features in the body proper as well as in arms and legs, all of this producing a more realistic figure. A few carvers have exaggerated these features to the point of the grotesque. Further, pieces are often today referred to as action dolls, for the artist presents the body, arms and legs in positions of motion in the dance. It is in the beautifully modeled action doll that some Hopi carvers have crossed over from the crafts into the realm of the fine arts.

Kachina - Spirits, Meanings and Types of Kachina Dolls

The word kachina (kah-chee-nah) has long been used by outsiders to refer to any of the hundreds of spiritual beings central to Hopi religious life as well as to the dolls that depict them. However, according to the Hopi, katsina (kahts-ee-nah) is more correct and preferred. In English, the plural of kachina is kachinas, but in the Hopi language the plural of katsina is katsinam.

The first known kachina dolls were obtained by traders in 1857. From then on others were picked up sporadically until about the end of the 19th century. Little is known about these except that they were basically simple in style, with slightly detailed masks and simplified bodies.