Kachinas Archives

Kachina Doll

Hopi, Arizona, U.S.A.

Kau’a Katsina (archaic Navajo spirit figure)

Carved wood (cottonwood), natural pigments, fabric

Height: 12 in. (30.5 cm)

“Volz”-type Kachina doll

Circa 1910

Ex collection Heye Foundation,
Museum of the American Indian, New York (Inv. 9/934)

Published: The American Dream, 2015

Price: sold

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The Kau’a kachina doll is the archaic version of the kachina representing the neighbors of the Hopi, the Navajo. The idea behind the kachina dance where a Navajo spirit appears is that the power of these neighbor-warriors would be reflected back on the whole village, thus reinforcing the Hopi character. The last time the archaic Kau’a kachina dance took place was in the Hopi village of Mishongnovi in 1914.
This kachina is distinguished by the exceptional quality of its painted motifs, its clothing and the braided ornaments in its hair. The style of this kachina is characteristic of the corpus of “Volz”-type kachinas: Frederick Volz (1856-1913) owned a trading post in a Hopi village. In 1901, he acted as a buyer for the entrepreneur Fred Harvey, collecting nearly 400 kachinas. Major American museums (The Field Museum, The New York Museum of Natural History, The University of Pennsylvania Museum, etc.) would subsequently seek to acquire examples of these “Volz” kachinas. The kachina presented here was formerly in the collections of The Heye Foundation, Museum of the American Indian in New York (inventory number 9/934).