Kachina Doll

North America | Arizona

Kachina Doll

Arizona

Nihiyo Katsina – Navajo kachina doll
Hopi

Carved wood (cottonwood) and pigments

Circa 1930
Height : 11 ½ in. (29 cm)

Ex private collection, New Jersey
Ex collection Larry Frank, Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico, c.1990.

Nihiyo Navajo Kachina doll 29 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
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 doll here is the rare representation of Nihiyo, the “beautifully-dressed-Navajo” kachina spirit, sometimes called “Navajo Proud”. The painted and carved décor of this kachina doll is especially detailed, notably the concha belt, the painted kilt and the delicate motifs on the back of the head. Nihiyo as well as Kwivi are two spirits of Navajo origin who dress fancy and appear in Mixed Dances.
Of note, the colors and motifs and on the mask of the kachina presented here are usually associated with Ma’alo, the Stick Kachina while the red visor and costume are typical of Nihiyo / Kwivi, the splendidly-dressed Navajo dancer.

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