Kachina Doll

North America | Arizona

Kachina Doll

Arizona

Kawaika Katsina – Rain Cloud Kachina doll
Hopi

Circa 1890-1900
Carved cottonwood and pigments
Height: 13 ½ in. – 34 cm

Provenance
Ex collection George Shaw, Aspen
Ex collection Galerie Flak, Paris
Ex collection François Meyer, Geneva

Kawaika Kachina doll 34 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.

Kawaika Katsina is of Laguna origin, and was a later import into the Zuni and Hopi pantheons.
This katsina figure is rarely carved. Kawaika appears during various ceremonies such as Powamu, Soyohim, and other dances. The painted patterns on this Kachina evoke rain and fertility:

The "tadpoles" painted in black invoke spring rains, a promise of good crops.
The lightning-snake patterns emerging from the clouds are reminiscent of the Snake Dance where the animal unites with the dancers to transform into a benevolent meteorological deity. In this outdoor masked ceremonial dance, the serpent is a messenger who, "once returned among the souls of the deceased in the form of lightning, triggers the storm in the sky."
The stylized flowers on the forehead symbolize spring and the rebirth of nature.

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