Mar 9, 2009

Hopi Kachina Dolls

Hopi Kachina Dolls

c 1920s

Fred Kabotie

(American, 1900–1986)


Page: 47.6 x 31.1 cm (18 3/4 x 12 1/4 in.)

Educational Purchase Fund 1928.312



Katsinas are the sacred spirit essences of things in the natural world—plants, animals, clouds, and many others. Central to the religion of the Indian pueblos (villages) of the southwest, katsinas are personified by costumed men in dances during the ceremonial season. This painting seems to depict the “dolls” that represent katsinas. Such carvings are given to Hopi girls to teach them about the world and their place in it. On the far left are two associated with corn, one male (the Hemis katsina) and the other female (the Hemis Mana katsina). Fred Kabotie, whose native name was Naqavoy’ma, was one of the key artists of the modern school of American Indian painting, which began with the work of self-taught Pueblo artists in the 1910s.

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