Kachina Doll

North America | Arizona

Kachina Doll

Arizona

Sio Hemis Katsina – New Corn Kachina doll
Hopi

Carved wood (cottonwood), pigments
Circa 1910 – 1920
Height: 14 ¼ in. (36.5 cm)

Ex collection Mark Blackburn, Santa Fe
Acquired from a private estate in Albuquerque

Sold
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, this Kachina spirit is particularly important. It represents ripening corn. Sio Hemis is the Zuni import/ variant of the New Corn Kachina spirit (in Hopi language, Sio means “from the Zuni”).
It is a prayer for moisture and rain which will help corn shoots grow in the season. It is one of the most beautiful kachinas. Its many symbols are associated with the desire for rain.
The figure stands in a classical posture with the arms closely folded in front of the torso. The symbols on the tableta (the wooden element / crown attached to the top of the mask) and the motifs on the face of this Kachina are particularly meaningful. They include stylized representation of raindrops between the eyes. The semi-circular outlines of the tableta depict rainclouds. The two arrow motifs at either side on the top depict water striders, an insect that glides around on the surface of the water. A rainbow surmounts the head. The symbols at the center and bottom of the tableta represent directions.

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