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.
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 Hilili katsina by Nick Brokeshoulder. It stands 14.25 inches high and $300. (SANTA FE)
A wonderful Taawa/Sun katsina by Larsen Harris Jr.
A stately 15 inches high and $500. (SANTA FE)
A To'tsa or Hummingbird katsina, by Larsen Harris Jr. 9 inches high. SOLD (SANTA FE)
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)
Randy Brokeshoulder made this very nice old style Kuwan Koyemsi (14 inches high. $375. (TUCSON)
A Chasing Star or Nangöysohut By Wayland Namingha jr. Just over 15 inches high and $500. (SANTA FE)
The Manang.y or Lizard katsina at right is also by Wayland. 13.75 inches high. $400. (SANTA FE)
A Kuwan Sösöpa by Clark Tenakhongva. 16 inches high. $300 (TUCSON)
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. The Roadrunner next to it is 12 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 Mastok is 11 inches high as is the Sivutootovi. (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 Lizard katsina by Brendan Kayquoptewa. 14 inches to the tip of the feather. $280. (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)
A Hilili (oneof the guard katsinas) by Randy Brokeshoulder 14 3/4 inches high and $430. (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 (TUCSON)
A Wupal katsina by Jared Quamahongnewa. 11 inches to the tip of the top feather. $240.(TUCSON)
An Aya (Rattle) katsina by Larsen Harris Jr. He stands 8" to the tip of the tallest feathers, $180. (SANTA FE)
Iisaw or Coyote by Augustine Mowa III. He stands 8.5 inches to the tip of the tallest feathers. $160.(SANTA FE)
A Sio Salako (Zuni style Salako) by Nick Brokeshoulder. Standing two feet tall, it is priced at $600. (SANTA FE)
The Kanaskatsin,or Sunset Crater katsina (also Kana’a in Hopi) was carved by Randy Brokeshoulder. 12 inches high. $320. (SANTA FE
The Kana’a katsinam once lived near Paalatsomo or Sunset Crater, outside present-day Flagstaff, Arizona. There is a Hopi tale of a young woman from Musangnovi village who married a Kana’a katsina. It is a long story but ends with the Kanaskatsinam coming to end a drought and famine (bringing magical sweet corn) and agreeing to live near the Hopi – in a butte that is named for them. From that date until the early 1900s, a Kanaskatsina dance was held every year. This katsina appears only infrequently at present and when he does he carries sweet corn as a reminder of how they saved the Hopi
At right is a Snake Dancer, carved by Nick Brokeshoulder. 17 inches high. $550 (SANTA FE)
The Snake Dance or Tsütikive was once held at virtually every village, in alternating years. Over time only Songóopavi and Musangnovi village have become the only two villages to still observe it, Because of the overwhelming interest of outsides, they have had to ban visitors to it. (The last year it was open to the public and estimated 15,000 people came to tr and see it!)
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.