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 great new book out, profiling nearly 2 dozen Hopi katsina carvers - past and present. $16.95 Paperback.
Walsh’s new book devotes an entire chapter to the work of Cimmaron Grover. Well worth the read.
At left is a Butterfly Dancer, measuring 13 inches high to the top of her tablita and $425.
Above is a Söhönasomtaqa, whose name means literally “grass tied to it” – referring to the galleta grass that is attached to either wide of the head – the same grass used as a foundation for Hopi coiled baskets. It is a katsina that appears only at the village of Orayvi –on Third Mesa- and is one of the most ancient katsinas. She is associated with Masaaw and is one of the so-called “angry” or War Katsinas. This one is 14.25 inches high and $425.
At right is his Koyemsi/Mudhead. It is 14 inches high and $400.
For each katsina we sell, we provide an information sheet similar to the ones above. (the one above has been sold)
A Hoho Mana and a Sólàawitsi, both carved by Gene Lalo. Each is 4" inches high and $70. The Sólàawitsi at right is by Randy Brokeshoulder. He is 5.5 inches high (not including feathers) and $200. (ALL IN SANTA FE)
An Owako or Coal katsina, by Randy Brokeshoulder. 9.5 inches high. $220. (SANTA FE)
Larry Melemndez of the Butterfly Clan, made this Heheya. You can’t see them in this jhoto, but he has carved and attached red chiles in its hair. 10,5 inches tall and $220. (SANTA FE)
A striking Hilili by William Gashweseoma. 11 inches high. $300 (SANTA FE)
At left is a Toson Koyemsi at left (also called a Kuwan Koyemsi) is 14.5 inches to the tip of the feathers and was carved by Cory Ahonewa. $350. (TUCSON)
An old style Kwew’o or Wolf katsina by Max Curley. 10 inches high. $380. (SANTA FE)
Ryan Gashweseoma carved this Ahülani katsina, 11 inches tall. $300 (SANTA FE)
Ahülani is one of the Mong or Chief katsinas. He appears during the Soyal Ceremony (held during the Winter Solstice) accompanied by the Blue Corn Maiden katsina and the Yellow Corn Maiden katsina. They appear carrying the consecrated seed corn that will be returned to the Hopi farmers for planting in the Spring.
It must be the rainy season: frogs are out! The first two are by Nick Brokeshoulder. The one at far left is 7 inches to the top of the feathers and $120. The green one is just over 8 inches high and $160. The Frog Maiden/Paakwa Mana by Horace Kayquaptewa is 8.5 inches high and $185. (ALL HAPPILY CROAKING AWAY IN SANTA FE)
The Butterfly Dances have begun at Hopi and this Butterfly Dancer was carved this past week by Wiliam Gashweseoma. 14 inches tall. SOLD. (SANTA FE)
Above is a Hemis katsina, carrying gifts of cattails and a Qöqölö katsina to be given out as a gift during the Niman or Home Dance, held in July. By Nick Brokeshoulder 22.5 inches tall and $675.
A Putskòomoktaqa by Randy Brokeshoulder. 10 inches tall and $220. (SANTA FE)
TIt is sometimes called (in English) a Scorpion though it is known instead in Hopi as Putskòomoktaqa - Rabbit Stick katsina, with the image of this hunting weapon painted on its forehead.
All by Jared Quamahongnewa: Talavay (Early Morning), Koyemsi Mana (Mudhead Maiden). Koyemsi. Taawa and Palakwayo (Red Tail Hawk). Click for larger images (ALL BUT THE TAAWA ARE IN TUCSON)
First two by Brendan Kayquoptewa From left to right: A Tsili (Chile) katsina, 5.75 inches high and $90. (TUCSON) A Tuneililli, or Small River katsina 9 inches high and $225. (TUCSON) Made by Darwyn Puyuhoama, this Hahai’i Wuuhti is 9.5 inches high and $275. (SANTA FE)
A Huhuwa or Cross-legged katsina by Mitchell Satala. If the name sounds familiar it is because we have carried the work of his father, Ferris “Spike” Satala for years. 11.75 inches high to feather tips and $175. (SANTA FE)
The Badger below is by Augustine Mowa III. 12 inches high. $280. (SANTA FE)
A Söhönasomtaqa by Randy Brokeshoulder. 12 inches high to the tip of the grass. $270. (SANTA FE)
The Söhönasomtaqa means literally “grass tied to it” – referring to the galleta grass that is attached to either wide of the head – the same grass used as a foundation for Hopi coiled baskets. It is a katsina that appears only at the village of Orayvi –on Third Mesa- and is one of the most ancient katsinas. She is associated with Masaaw and is one of the so-called “angry” or War Katsinas.
At right is Hilili, carved by Larryn Masawytewa. 13.25 inches high and $425. (SANTA FE)
A Tsaveyo, armed with his yucca whips, by Nick Brokeshoulder. Just under 16 inches tall. $350 (TUCSON)
This Muuyawkatsina or Moon katsina is by Darwyn Puhuyoama. It is 13 inches high to the feather tips. $460. (SANTA FE)
Above is Paakwa Mana or Frog Girl, by Nick Brokeshoulder. She is 11 inches high and $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)
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).
At right, a Masaaw by Jared Quamahongnewa, 12 inches high. $220. (TUCSON)
An Anakchina by Randy Brokeshoulder. 12.5 inches high and $300. (SANTA FE)
Larsen Harris Jr carved this Patnga or Squash katsina. 12.5 inches tall and ON LAYAWAY. (SANTA FE)
The Salako with the mudhead dancer (13 inches high) and the very tall (22.5 inches high) Salako at right 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 (SANTA FE) and the other $1800. (TUCSON)
Photo below courtesy of the Adobe Gallery www.adobegallery.com
A Nangöysohut Chasing Star katsina, one of several Sohu or Star katsinas that have to do with celestial bodies and events. By Augustine Mowa III. 10 inches high. $285 (TUCSON)
An Early Morning (Talavai’i) katsina by Augustine Mowa. 9.5 inches high. $280 (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. By Nick Brokeshoulder. $240 (SANTA FE)
A Natukvika, 12 inches tall, by Augustine Mowa III. $300. (SANTA FE)
Visually, this katsina is part koshare/clown and part Corn katsina, but is regarded as a katsina. According to legend, Sootukwnangw (the Sky Deity) struck several misbehaving katsinas with lightning and when he went to put them back together again, he got the parts mixed up. He can also appear in the plaza, seated with a large drum, a role that gives him his other name: Hapota, or drummer