Kachinas Archives

Kachina Doll

Hopi, Arizona, USA

Kwahu Katsina
Eagle Kachina doll

Carved wood (cottonwood), natural pigments
Circa 1890-1910
Height: 8 ½ in. (22 cm)

Ex collection Tate Brown, California
Ex collection George Shaw, Aspen

Price: sold

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Kachina dolls (or katsinam) represent spirits or gods from the pantheon of the Pueblo peoples in the American Southwest. Given to children, kachina dolls constituted a pedagogical tool allowing them to familiarize themselves with the spiritual world and perpetuating knowledge of the founding myths on which their society was based.
The kachina doll presented here carries a device on its back called a "water tablet". As stated by Barton Wright in "Kachina Spirit" (2003), the Eagle Kachina is danced to increase the number of eagles but also seems to be associated with rainfall. This may be the reason for the device on the back of the doll.