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.
For each katsina we sell, we provide an information sheet similar to the ones above. (the one above has been sold)
The Wupamo katsina, besides being an important guard katsina, is regarded as one of the oldest katsinas at Hopi. This one, by Corey Ahonewa is 11.5 inches tall to the top of the feathers. $240 (SANTA FE)
At right 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.
Maasaw Mana or Maasaw Maiden is the female form who may accompany Maasaw. She may appear during the Niman or Home Dance. Here she is shwon carrying piki to be given as a gift during that ceremony. By Lenno Polingyumptewa. 11.5 inches tall. $360 (SANTA FE)
All by Jared Quamahongnewa: Talavay (Early Morning), Koyemsi Mana (Mudhead Maiden). Koyemsi. Taawa and Palakwayo (Red Tail Hawk). (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) The Hano Mana at right was carved by Tim Telawepi. 9.75 inches high. $200. (SANTA FE) A very nice Sun katsina by Augustine Mowa III. 8 inches tall. $240. (SANTA FE)
A Snake Racer by Augustine Mowa III. 10.5 inches high and $185. (TUCSON) A Paakwa Mana by Horace Kayquaptewa. 8.5 inches high and $185. (SANTA FE) A Turtle or Yöngöksina 9.5 inches high 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. ($270) (SANTA FE) A Tsaveyo, armed with his yucca whips, by Nick Brokeshoulder. $350 (TUCSON)
A Hoho Mana, holding piki to be given out during the dance. 10.75 inches high. By Tayron Polequaptewa. $250. (TUCSON)
A Yöngöksina , 8 inches tall, by Augustine Mowa II. $240 .(SANTA FE)
He 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
A Crow Mother by Randy Brokeshoulder. 12.25 inches high and $300. (SANTA FE)
She performs a very important role in the Powamu or Bean Ceremony, which is held in early-mid February. Powamu is an early planting observance where beans are planted in special boxes in the kivas (the Hopi religious structures) and kept warm. Their successful germination ensures that come Spring, when the seeds are panted in the fields, the plants will germinate and grow. She is also present when children are initiated into the Katsina Society.
This Muuyawkatsina or Moon katsina is by Darwyn Puhuyoama. It is 13 inches high to the feather tips. $460. (SANTA FE)
Above is a Siyangephoya or Left-Handed Hunter, by Augustine Mowa III. 7.75 inches tall. $240. (SANTA FE)
The Left-Handed katsina is one of the Mahk or Hunter katsinas. He is said by some Hopi to represent hunters from the Chemehuevi tribe, who live in the desert along the lower Colorado River. He is usually seen carrying a putskohu or throwing stick used for hunting rabbits in his left hand or a bow in his right hand.
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)
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.
An Anakchina by Randy Brokeshoulder. 12.5 inches high and $300. (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)
The Toson Koyemsi at left (also called a Kuwan Koyemsi) is 14.5 inches to the tip of the feathers and was carved by Corey Ahonewa. $350. (TUCSON)
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)
A Badger by Raynard Lalo. 11.5 inches to the tip of the feathers. $280. (TUCSON)
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.
A 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)
Above is a Kwaamana or Eagle Maiden by Carl Nequatewa. 12 inches high. $200. (SANTA FE)
A Wupa’akatsina by Andrew Sahmie Sr from First Mesa. 9.5 inches high, including the base. $600. (SANTA FE)
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.