Large Pahlik Mana Katsina – Butterfly Maiden Kachina doll
Carved wood (cottonwood) and pigments
Height : 15 ½ in. (39.5 cm)
Ex collection John C. Hill, Arizona
Ex private collection, USA
(André Breton, Le Littéraire, 1946)
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.
In the Hopi pantheon, Pahlik Mana is known as the Butterfly Maiden or the Corn-Grinding Maiden.
This female kachina figure appears at various times during the Hopi ceremonial year. Her performances are colorful dances who are seen as prayers for rain and bountiful harvests.
Alph H. Secakuku notes in “Hopi Kachina Tradition: Following the Sun & Moon” that when Pahlik Mana appears, certain key Kiva members must fast and abstain from contact with the opposite sex. The fasting achieves spiritual concentration and dedication through self-purification of the mind and spirit.
The Butterfly Maiden is one of the most spectacular Hopi kachinas with a large and elaborate tableta (crown-like element) on top of her head, as well as her superb iconography and symbolism.