Kachina doll

North America | Arizona

Kachina doll

Arizona

An exceptional Tiwenu Katsina – Laguna or San Domingo Kachina doll
Hopi

Carved wood (cottonwood) and pigments
Circa 1890
Height: 12 ¾ in. (32.5 cm)

Ex private collection, California
Ex collection George Everett Shaw, Colorado

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.

This kachina doll with a large, openwork tableta is an exceedingly rare representation of Tiwenu Katisna. This archaic sculpture dates back to the 1890s. The posture and style along with several noteworthy features (such as the « undercut » kilt) all attest to the great age of this doll.

The tableta with openwork, terraced motifs symbolizes rain clouds. Representations of ear corns appear on each side of the tableta while a four-pointed-star can be seen at the centre, beneath a rainbow symbol.

Tiwenu kachinas originate from the Eastern Pueblo, Rio Grande. Tiwenu is also called Kachina San Domingo, Laguna or Awma.
During Hopi ceremonies they appear as group dancers in the Line or Mixed dances. Tiwenu kachinas are raraly carved, and very few examples are known in museum or private collections.

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