Kachinas Archives

Kachina doll

Arizona, USA

Carved by Hopi Chief
Wilson Tawaquaptewa, Oraibi (1873-1960)

Carved wood (cottonwood root), natural pigments
Circa 1930
Height: 8 in. (20.5 cm)

Published in: American Indian Art Magazine
Winter 1998, p. 58

Ex collection Barry Walsh, USA

Price: sold

America - Southwest
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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.
This doll is the work of a Hopi master carver, Wilson Tawaquaptewa (1873-1960).
Oraibi chief W. Tawaquaptewa (sometimes spelled Tewaquaptewa) was both a prominent a spiritual and political Hopi leader; he is also celebrated as the greatest Hopi kachina doll carver.
A major exhibition of W. Tawaquaptewa's work was organized a few years ago at the Birmingham Museum of Art (Alabama, USA) and an important collection of Tawaquaptewa dolls was recently sold in a Paris auction, bringing record prices for his works.
The color palette on this doll is typical of this artist's works.