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.
A vintage (1940s) Hu katsina. Atop his head are hawk feathers, flanked on each side by an eagle feather. A distinctive -almost unique - touch is the beautifully rendered necklace which represents the mosaic necklaces made by artisans from Santo Domingo Pueblo in that era, using battery casing, gypsum beads, and red plastic along with turquoise. 10 inches high. $1500. (SANTA FE)
A Patnga or Squash katsina by Herman Nehoitewa. 10 inches high. SOLD (SANTA FE)
A Kowaako Mana or Chicken Girl by Ryan Gashweseoma. 12 inches to the tip of the feather. $350. (SANTA FE)
Above is a Kwaamana or Eagle Maiden by Carl Nequatewa. 12 inches high. $200. (SANTA FE)
The Maraw katsina belongs to the Maraw Women's Society. The maraw is a winded insect, similar in appearance to a dragonfly. He is also said to be a part of the Kwivi or the group of katsinas that represent the Navajo. 18 inches high. $280 (SANTA FE)
The WIharu appears during the Bean Ceremony or Powamu held in February, an early planting ceremony, it is also a time when the Sooyooko katsinas go door to door, checking on how well the children have behaved during the year. Those who have repeatedly misbehaved are supposed to be taken off and eaten, but the grandmother of the house intervenes, negotiates, and the ogre katsinas leave with food and grandma is left with a devoutly heartfelt promise from the miscreant child to be much better next year. Carved by Nick Brokeshoulder, it stands 16 inches high and priced at $400 ( SANTA FE)
The Patzro - one of the tsiro or bird katsinas is by Nick Brokeshoulder. An Aya or Rattle katsina by Leander Tenakhongva. 8 inches high. $180. The Hakto (spirit of the forest) was carved by Ryan Gashweseoma. 10.5 inches high. $350. (ALL IN SANTA FE)
A Kwaakatsina (Eagle katsina, by Sonny Secklestewa. 16 inch wingspan. 15 inches high. $360. (SANTA FE)
A Situlili katinsa by Randy Brokeshoulder. One of the guard or Hu (Whipper) katsinas, he carries yucca whips and wears a Snake Dance kilt. The name is a word the Hopi derived from the Zuni word for rattlesnake: Chitdola. 13 inches high and $270. (SANTA FE)
Hakto - spirit of the forest and a katsina borrowed and adapted from the Zuni. By Nick Brokeshoulder. 12.5 inches high. $240. (SANTA FE)
A Natukvika by Nick Brokeshoulder. 18 inches high. $300. (SANTA FE)
A Tokots or Wildcat katsina, by Randy Brokeshoulder. 11 5/8 inches high. $270. (SANTA FE)
A Yot.se'e or Apache katsina by Nick Brokeshoulder. 14 inches high. $250 (SANTA FE) $450 for the pair
An Angwus Taqa or Crow Boy by Randy Brokeshoulder. 9.5 inches high. $250. (SANTA FE)
A Yot.se'e Wuhti or Apache Woman katsina by Nick Brokeshoulder. 12 inche to the tip of her feather. $250 (SANTA FE) $450 for the pair.
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)
Wayland Namingha carved this Omaw or Cloud katsina. 14.5 inches high. $350. (TUCSON)
Carved by Lyle Lomayma of the Fire Clan from the village of Munqapi. This Pang (Mountain Sheep) katsina with a red corn body is 20.5 inches tall and $475. (TUCSON)
Randy Brokeshoulder carved this Owangaroro. He is one of the so-called “Mad” katsinas. He is regarded as dangerous and must be lead around at rope’s length by a Mudhead. It is said that if rocks are thrown at him he will catch and eat the rocks. At Second Mesa he sometime acts as a guard katsina. 13 3/8inches high. $330. (SANTA FE)
This Qöqöle was made by Craig Grover. It stands 10.5"tall. $135. (TUCSON)
He goes by a number of names - his Hopi name is Sooya’ytaqa or Planting Stick Boy, which also more accurately reflects his actions – a poking motion he makes when he dances, holding a wooden hoop in his left hand a multi-colored stick in the other. He has also been called a Laguna Gambler katsina in some Anglo-written texts, but the origin of that misnomer is unknown. Another nickname given him is Koyung Taqa or Turkey Boy because of the fan of turkey feathers.. There are several types of corn katsinas, which is appropriate considering that they grow many types of corn, including red, yellow, white and blue. Corn is prepared in many ways – fried, dried, popped, parched, baked, boiled, ground and reconstituted. Corn katsinas represent the spirit of the corn plant, which provides life for the Hopi. 16.25 inches high. $250 (SANTA FE)
A Pang or Black Ram katsina by Jared Quamahongnewa. 16.5 to the very tip of the feather (otherwise 11.5 inches). $300. (TUCSON)
If you lose a footrace to the Wikchina or Greasy Hand katsina, your clothes will be smeared with the grease and soot this runner gets from wiping his hands along the insides of chimney pipes. 12.5 inches high. $250 (TUCSON)
By Randy Brokeshoulder, this Ye'ivitshai katsina is 11 inches high. $275. (TUCSON)
An Anakchin Mana or Long Hair Maiden. She often accompanies the Long Hair. By Randy Brokeshoulder. 14.25 inches high, not including the feathers. $425. (SANTA FE)