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.
Nick Brokeshoudler's Hemis katsina earned an award at this year's Gallup Inter-tribal Indian Ceremony. Two feet three inches high. $900. (SANTA FE)
An Anakchin Mana or Long Hair Maiden. She often accompanies the Long Hair seen at right. By Randy Brokeshoulder. 14.25 inches high, not including the feathers. $425. (SANTA FE)
A Korosto katsina by Gene Lalo. 10.5 inches high. $250. (SANTA FE)
his particular carving represents a katsina known by a couple of names – depending in part in which village on what mesa he appears: Korowista , Ota and the descriptive names of Kwasa’taqa, Kwasa’ykatsina (“kwasa” is Hopi for “dress”). It is a katsina borrowed from the kokko of Zuni.
A Nakyatsop by Nick Brokeshoulder. 17 inches high and $360. (SANTA FE)
An Anakchina or Long Hair katsina, representing the nurturing summer rains. By Randy Brokeshoulder. 14.5 inches high and $425. (SANTA FE)
Jared Quamahongnewa carved both these dolls.The Hahai Wuuhti is 9 inches high. $150 and in SANTA FE.
The Talavai'i or Eary Morning katsina is 9.5 inches high and $160. (TUCSON)
A Pusukinangaksina by Nick Brokeshoulder. He stands 13 3/8 inches high, not including his tallest feather, and is $450. (SANTA FE)
This particular carving represents a red-bearded variation of the Anak'china or Long Hair katsina dancer that appears with a drummer. The katsina in turn represents the spirit of the summer rains - specifically the long gentle, life-giving drizzles. The long hair represents the rain as one can sometimes see it wisping down from the clouds, almost like a brush stroke. The red hair symbolizes his close affiliation with Taawa – the Sun- who is responsible for the rainbow represented in the band above his beard. (That also gives him his other name: Pala sowitsuni or Red Beard.) The feathers used on the katsina dancers are parrot for the parrot symbolizes the south – the direction from which the summer rains come.
By Randy Brokeshoulder, this Ye'ivitshai katsina is 11 inches high. $275. (SANTA FE)
A Hilili by Brendan Kayquoptewa. 13 inches high. $280. (SANTA FE)
A Crow Mother carved by Sandra Suhu, the most talented Hopi woman carver. SOLD (SANTA FE)
Maasaw, by Randy Brokeshoulder. 13 inches high. $270. (SANTA FE)
Pronounced mah sah’u, is the powerful and important personage associated with the underworld, or more accurately, the spirit world where one’s spirit returns after death. Maasaw is also the being who gave the Hopi the land that is now their home.
A Soyok Wuuhti carved by Nick Brokeshoulder, she stands 13 inches high. $300 (SANTA FE)
A Wuuyaqqötö, by Wayland Namingha Jr. This is one of the guard katsinas, known in Hopi as the Tuwalakum. They perform a number of functions, including brandishing yucca whips to keep spectators at a distance as the Katsinas proceed to and from the plaza where the ceremonies are held. His name literally means "wide head" but is usually translated as broadface.) 12.5 inches high. $300.(TUCSON)
Merlin James of Songóopavi Village carved these five katsinas.(click on them for larger images) The Ewtoto at upper left is 9.5 inches high and $180. Each of the three on the bottom row is $180: The Cricket is 13 inches to the top of its antennae. The Sivutootovi is 11 inches high. All are $180. (ALL IN SANTA FE)
The Mastok is named for a type of fly, this katsina often carries a Hopi throwing stick, 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
Ewtoto,is a mong or ‘chief’ katsina, appears in the Patsavu rite held during the Powamuy ceremony in February. (Powamuy is basically an early planting ritual.) In the ceremony he carries a wooden plaque with a perfect ear of corn attached, symbolizing his status or office and carries a netted gourd filled with water from a sacred spring to use in the rite. This ceremony is held only once every four years – after the Wuwutsim or Initiation ceremony. Ewtoto is said by many Hopi to be one of the oldest of the katsinas.
Sivutootovi is the Soot Fly katsina – one of the wawarus or runner katsinas. If a young man is challenged by Sivutootovi to a race and wins he receives a small Hopi basketry plaque as a prize. If he loses he is switched with a yucca whip.
A Pang or Black Ram katsina by Jared Quamahongnewa. 16.5 to the very tip of the feather (otherwise 11.5 inches. $300. (TUCSON)
A Kuwan Patsok or fancy Cockleburr katsina, by Gene Lalo. 9 inches high. $250. (SANTA FE)
A Patung or Sqaush katsina by Clark Tenakhongva, who was one of the first groups of Hopi carvers to revive the older style. This gourd katsina has a head made of an actual gourd. Approximately 27.5 inches in length. $300 (SANTA FE)
A Qöqöle katsina by Randy Brokeshoulder. 11.25 inches high. $300. (SANTA FE)
A Talavai'i katsina by Nick Brokeshoulder. 16 5/8 inches high. $375. (SANTA FE)
This particular katsina usually appears about dawn, (hence the English translation of his name) carrying a small spruce tree in one hand and a bell in the other, singing in a high, almost falsetto voice. He bears rainclouds symbols on his cheeks and is regarded by many Hopi as one of the more beautiful katsinas, both for his appearance and his voice.
A hospow or Roadrunner katsina by Brendan Kayquoptewa of te Rabbit Clan from Hotvela. 13 inches to the top of the feAther. $280. (SANTA FE)
A Kyarkatsina or Parrot katsina by Brendan Kayquoptewa. 10 inches high and $280. (SANTA FE)
The Kyarkatsina (pronounced kyash katsina) represents the spirit of the parrot – traded up from the jungles of Mexico far to the south for centuries. The brilliant feathers of the Scarlet Macaw are highly prized among the Pueblo Indians and the bird itself is associated with the summer rains that also come up from the south.