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20th C. Hopi Indian Painted Wood Katsina Doll

Southwestern USA, Arizona and New Mexico, Hopi Peoples, 20th century CE. A truly striking katsina (kachina) figure, with the body carved from a single piece of wood and the implements separately carved and attached to a low, flat base. The figure kneels, holding a musical instrument. It has gorgeous Hopi hair whorls and a painted feather design over its mouth; red fringe hangs over its eyes. The Hemis Mana Katsina appears in the "Going Home" dance ceremony, when the Katsina leave the Hopi lands to remove to their lands in the mountains. Size: 7.95" L x 4.3" W x 8.35" H (20.2 cm x 10.9 cm x 21.2 cm)

The Katsinam, supernatural beings who live in the high mountains of the San Francisco Peaks above traditional Hopi territory, speak to the Hopi through costumed dance and song. These dancers emerge from the round ceremonial kivas that are at the center of their communities, singly or in groups, and dance to the music of drums, rattles, and song. In imitation and representation of them are Katsina figures (katsina dolls, katsin-tihu), made of cottonwood root. Cottonwood is culturally symbolic because the cottonwood tree, once abundant in traditional Hopi lands, grows where water flows - thus, looking across a landscape, lines of cottonwood trees denote a water source in the desert. After carving, the figures are painted all over with whitewash, made from kaolin clay, and then painted in brilliant colors. Originally these were done using yucca brushes. Many of them are then decorated with other materials, like feathers, cloth, or fur. Katsina dolls are often given objects to hold which indicate their roles. Kachina dolls are not toys, but are given to young girls, representations of benevolent spirit beings.

Condition: Very small, stable surface cracks. Incredible bright colors. Tiny drilled hole in top of head.

Provenance: private Himrod Estate, Anaheim, California, USA

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