Kachinas

Kachinas (recently the spelling 'Katsinas' has become more common) are a class of supernatural beings who represent the forces of nature (including all aspects of human, animal and plant nature), and who act as intermediaries between the world of humans and that of the gods. They appear at the Pueblos of Hopi (in Arizona) and Zuni (in New Mexico). The Hopi believe their Kachinas live on the San Francisco Peaks; the Zuni believe their Kachinas live in the Lake of the Dead. Kachinas vary widely in terms of their abilities and benevolence toward humans.

Male members of the Pueblos dress in costume to represent both male and female Kachinas in ceremonial and social dances. These dancers serve a great variety of practical purposes in terms of teaching appropriate behavior to the onlookers, and it is customarily believed at the Pueblos that the costumed dancers become transformed into the Kachinas whose spirits they summon.

Certain Kachinas may only be represented by members of specific clans, kivas, or religious societies, and while the elements and colors of the costumes and the shapes and features of the masks of each Kachina are prescribed in minute detail, these details can vary from village to village. Kachinas also have distinctive characters, behaviors and gestures. Several hundred Kachinas are known. Some are seen every year, some do not appear for generations at a time, some become forgotten, and new ones occasionally appear.

Figures or dolls (called 'katsin tihu' by the Hopi) carved of cottonwood root (or pine in the case of most Zuni Kachinas) are sometimes used to represent the Kachinas. At Hopi these are given to girl children and are meant to be a method of teaching the child what the Kachina should look like.

Kachinas figures are also carved for sale to collectors by a number of very talented artists at both Pueblos. Each Kachina figure we offer is authentically hand-carved by an individual member of the Hopi or Zuni Pueblo.

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Choyou, Edwin - Badger Kachina

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Badger (Honan) Kachina.

Badger, a powerful healing kachina, appears in winter's Bean Dance (Powamu) and  the periodic Tribal Initiation (Pachavu) Ceremonies.

12" high

Grover, Sharon - Snow Maiden Kachina

#7312
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Snow Maiden (Nuvak'chin Mana) Kachina.

The Snow Maiden represents (of course) snow, and her appearance in the annual Niman (Home Dance) Ceremony is meant to summon the winter snows that will replenish the earth with essential moisture for the following spring's planting.

7 1/2" high.

Grover, Wally - Native Warrior Koshare

#7304
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Exceptional, humorous Koshare carving.

The Koshare are a class of clown kachinas who serve a complex ceremonial function.  Sometimes they teach what is inappropriate by behavior-by-counterexample, sometimes they provide a bit relief from the seriousness of a ritual, and they have many other roles as well.  Wally's creation has a bit of everything.

10 1/4" high.

Jackson, Esther - Hummingbird Kachina

#9253
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Hummingbird (Tocha) Kachina.

Hummingbird is a favorite in both the winter's Kiva (Pamuya) Dances and the spring's Plaza(Soyohim) Dances.

7 3/4" high

Mahooty, Dwight - Corn Dancer Kachina

#4F10
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Corn Dancer Kachina.

Because corn is so essential to Hopi life, the Corn Dancer is a tremendously popular kachina.

12 3/4" high.

Martinez, Frank - White Chin Kachina

#7287
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White Chin (Tuma-Oi) Kachina.

Although White Chin very rarely appears in person, she is extremely popular with Hopi carvers.

7 1/2" high.

Poleahla, Rudy - Snow Maiden Kachina

#7286
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Snow Maiden (Nuvak'chin Mana) Kachina.

The Snow Maiden represents (of course) snow, and her appearance in the annual Niman (Home Dance) Ceremony is meant to summon the winter snows that will replenish the earth with essential moisture for the following spring's planting.

9" high.

Qumyintewa, Willie - Male Butterfly Kachina

#5989
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Male Butterfly (Poli Taka) Kachina.

This kachina appears in the Butterfly Social Dance.  Both male and female Butterfly Kachinas are popular with carvers and collectors alike.

8 7/8" high.

Qumyintewa, Willie - Warrior Maiden Kachina

#1394
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Warrior Maiden (He'-e'-e) Kachina.

She is a particularly fearsome warrior who leads a band of other Warrior Kachinas to protect the all-important Initiation (Pachavu) Ceremony.

9 1/4" high.

Thomas, Sharon - Ogre Woman Kachina

#9417
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Ogre Woman (Soyoko) Kachina

The Ogres are disciplinary Kachinas who visit the villages of First and Second Mesas around the time of the Powamu (Bean Dance) Ceremony, held annually in February.

6 1/2" high

Toha, Leonard - Mother Earth Kachina

#7303
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Mother Earth or Grandmother (Hahai-i Wuhti) Kachina.

Hahai-i Wuhti is the mother of all Kachinas and appears in many important Hopi ceremonies.  She is often the first carving given to Hopi babies.

12 1/2" high.

Tungovia, Tim - Kokopelli

#7301
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Kokopelli Kachina.

Kokopelli, the "Hump-Backed Flute Player", appears in many Pueblo cultures in addition to the Hopi.  Both male and female versions are known.  Tim's carving is the male form.

7" high.