Katsinas are spirit beings who are the intermediaries between the Hopi and their deities, carrying the prayers of the Hopis for the continuation of the cycle of life of all living things. They may represent the spirit of plants, animals, forces of natures, places or even other tribes. Some are known for their duties (eg: guard, clown...) and not all names are translatable. They appear in the plazas for Hopi villages for approximately 6 months of the year as they dwell in the katsina or spirit world for the other half of the year.
They are carved from the root of the cottonwood tree - used because the cottonwood grows only where there is an ample and consistent supply of water - rare around the Hopi mesas - and because of the water-seeking nature of the roots, which can grow out and down a couple hundred feet or more in search of the water table. If you are interested in learning more, there are several books we can recommend to you (which we also sell).
Between our Santa Fe and Tucson stores we generally have somewhere between 300 and 400 katsinas so on our website we can only hope to show you a cross-section. Please contact us if you are looking for something specific that you do not see. We may have it or be able to acquire it for you.
For each katsina we sell, we provide an information sheet similar to the ones above. (both of these have been sold)
All by Jared Quamahongnewa: Talavay (Early Morning), Koyemsi Mana (Mudhead Maiden). Koyemsi. Taawa and Palakwayo (Red Tail Hawk. (TUCSON)
All by Brandon Kayquoptewa From left to right: A Tsili (Chile)katsina, 5.75 inches high and $90. A Tuneililli, or Small River katsina 8.5 inches high and $225. The Taawa (Sun) katsina. is 15.5 inches high and $450. (ALL IN TUCSON)
A Turtle Girl (Yöngöksinmana) 8.75 inches high (SOLD) and Turtle (Yöngöksina) 9.5 inches high ($270) by Randy Brokeshoulder. represents the spirit of the tortoise. Its name in Hopi is yöyöngsöna, which literally means cactus-fruit-lover as it refers to the desert tortoise. (Both in SANTA FE)
A Hoho Mana, holding piki to be given out during the dance. 10.75 inches high. By Tayron Polequaptewa. $250. (TUCSON)
Wuuyaqqötö is one of the whipper or guard katsinas, known in Hopi as the Tuwalakum. By Kevin Quanimptewa. 9 inches high. $185 (TUCSON)
A Talavai’i or Early Morning Katsina. By Darance Chimerica. 11 inches high. $300. (SANTA FE)
A Kokosori or Solaawitsi by Larry Melendez of the Butterfly Clan. 11 inches high and $320. (SANTA FE)
Sólàawitsi is a katsina the Hopi adopted and adapted from the Zuni, where he is known as Kokosori and called “Little Fire God” in English because at Zuni he carries a cedar bark torch when he appears at night during the Winter Salako ceremony. At Hopi he appears during the summer dances. In both cases he carries seeds for planting crops in a fawn skin on his back.
At right, a Masaaw by Jared Quamahongnewa, 12 inches high. $220. (TUCSON)
The Tsitoto represents the spirit of the tobacco plant, whose dense smoke resembles clouds and carries the prayers offered when puffing on a cloud blower up to the Cloud People.
His primary function – when he appears in the Powamu or ‘Bean Ceremony’ - is one of purification, using a yucca whip that he carries.
A Pang or Black Ram katsina by Jared Quamahongnewa. 16.5 to the very tip of the feather (otherwise 11.5 inches). $300. (TUCSON)
The Mountain Sheep was important to the Hopi as the horns were used for a variety of purposes, from religious to utensils, notably ladles. The horns were generally acquired in trade from the Hualapai - Havasupai people to the west of them, occupying the region in and around the Grand Canyon.) As with all the horned animals, when they appear as a group in a ceremony they are accompanied by Mountain or Wolf katsinas – or Lalayhoya (Herder Boy).
A Kokopelli Mana, also by Nick Brokeshoulder. 10.25 inches high. $170 (SANTA FE)
This is the mana or maiden version of Kokkopelli. She like her male counterpart, often engages in outrageous behaviour. Any man present at the katsina dance whom she can catch or corner can be the target of her actions and amorous intent, much to the delight of spectators.
A Hooli katsina by Randy Howato. 13.5” high to tallest feather tip and $450. (SANTA FE)
Nick Brokeshoulder carved this Sio Salako , 24 inches high. SOLD (SANTA FE)
The Salako with the mudhead dancer (13 inches high) and the very tall (22.5 inches high) Salako directly above were both carved by Duane Dishta (1946-2011), who was better known later in life as a very fine painter. The one at upper left is $1100 and the other $1800. (TUCSON)
A Badger by Randy Brokeshoulder. 11.5 inches tall and wonderful feather work (as is true of all Randy’s work). $270. (SANTA FE)
An Early Morning (Talavai’i) katsina by Augustine Mowa. 9.5 inches high. $280 (TUCSON)
At right: The Toson Koyemsi (also called a Kuwan Koyempsi) is 14.5 inches to the tip of the feathers and was carved by Corey Ahonewa. $350. (TUCSON)
A Badger by Raynard Lalo. 11.5 inches to the tip of the feathers. $280. (TUCSON)
The Patzro - one of the tsiro or bird katsinas was carved by Nick Brokeshoulder, SOLD. (SANTA FE)
Though usually translated a ‘shrike’ in English, the bird has been identified as a chesnut-collared Longspur which inhabits open grassy areas – like that south of the Hopi mesas. They are frequently seen around springs, seeps or small ponds in the early morning or at dusk, hence his nickname in Hopi as water bird.
A Mongwa or Owl katsina by Raynard Lalo. 12.25 inches high. $300 (TUCSON)
He is most often seen during the katsin tikive or plaza dances held in late Spring and early Summer. A hunter/warrior katsina, one of his most important functions is to keep on eye on the clowns who perform. An important function of the clowns is to show people how to behave in the Hopi way by taking the opposite form of behaviour to extremes. The Owl uses his yucca whips near the end of the day to chastise the clowns for their irreverent actions.
Above is a Kwaamana or Eagle Maiden by Carl Nequatewa. 12 inches high. $200. (SANTA FE)
A Kwaakatsina (Eagle katsina, by Sonny Secklestewa. 16 inch wingspan. 15 inches high. $360. (SANTA FE)
AT RIGHT: An Tsakurshmana or Yellow Corn Maiden, she is also called Anakchin Mana or Long Hair Maiden when she accompanies the Long Hair katsina. By Randy Brokeshoulder. 14.25 inches high, not including the feathers. $425. (SANTA FE)
A Badger by Brendan Kayqupotewa. 12.5 inches high. $270. (TUCSON)
A He’e’e or Warrior Maiden katsina by Reynard Lalo. 9 inches to the tip of her feather. $220. (TUCSON)
A variety of Hu katsina (one of the Whipper katsinas) that appears only at Old Orayvi on Third Mesa. By Nick Brokeshoulder, it stands 16.5 inches high and is $300. (SANTA FE)
This Qöqöle was made by Craig Grover. It stands 10.5"tall. $135. (TUCSON)
A Morivosi by Raynard Lalo, this katsina is 11 inches high. $220. (TUCSON)
Often mis-spelled in many books on katsinas as “Muzribi”, he represent the spirit of all varieties of beans planted by the Hopi.