This style of work began to evolve around 1970 and was accelerated when Hopis were not allowed to sell katsinas that had migratory bird feathers - not even of those birds which could be legally hunted, like ducks. While some carvers worked with grouse, pheasant and pigeon feathers, others found a receptive audience for carved wooden feathers, which were not susceptible to damage from moths and crickets. In time very highly detailed work emerged, along with the concept of 'one piece carvings' - dolls which were carved without anything being carved separately and added on. (the problem is that cottonwood root is soft and carving an arm out across the grain was structurally unsound so most "one piece" dolls will have items carved separately and then attached - like bows or protruding mouths.)
In any event, while a return to the older style carving has diminished the number of carvings working in this style, many still do (and many carve both styles).
A phenomenal one piece (yes: one piece!) Eagle katsina by the incredibly talented, skilful and patient Hopi carver Michael Dean Jenkins. 28.5 inches high, with a wingspan of 34 inches. Below are photos of some of the many marvelous details. It currently rests in our Tucson shop. $24,000. There is no other Eagle katsina to compare. (Click on the thumbnails below for a larger image)
Tsakurshmana or Yellow Corn Maiden as she appears during the Niman or Home Dance, carrying her rasp and gourd resonator. By Tim Talwepi. 12 inches high.$1275. (SANTA FE)
At 13 inches high this Soyok Wuhti is an impressive carving. Carved by award-winning carver Jimmie G Honanie in 1989, this came out of a local collection. $1600. (SANTA FE)
Angwusanomtaqa or Crow Mother by Brandon Kayquoptewa. 10.25 inches high. $1275 (TUCSON)
A Natukvika in his role as a Hapota or drummer. Carved by the late Brian Honyouti. 9 inches high. $1600.
Named for a type of fly, this katsina usually carries a Hopi throwing stick that is used in hunting rabbits. The dots on the mask represent the constellations we know as the Big Dipper and the Pleiades. The katsina appears in pairs at the beginning of the katsina year as a part of a ritual designed to insure fertility – specifically the continuation or renewal of the life cycle.
An Anakchina, by Raynard Nasingoitewa, carved in 2001. 11 inches high. $875. (TUCSON)
A Saviki katsina carved by Wilmer Kaye. Saviki is also called Tsanu and is one of the mong or ‘chief’ katsinas and is regarded as the wuya of the Tsuyom or Snake Clan in some villages while in others he is one of the four guardians of the Palölökong or Water Serpent. 11.75 inches high including the base. $1200. (TUCSON)
A Mastok katsina carved by Ernest Chappella in 1984. 10.5 inches high. $1200. (SANTA FE)