This  hand carved Katsina doll was created by Tayron Polequaptewa using original techniques dating back to the late 1800s.    Central to Hopi religion, Katsinas are spirits of nature believed to live on the San Francisco Peaks (Nuvah Tuhkwi) near Flagstaff, Arizona.  Traditional, or Old-Style, Katsina dolls, such as this one, were simple carvings given to Hopi children to teach them about their culture and the Katsinas that would be visiting during the upcoming ceremony.  The Hu Katsina is a Guardian positioned around the perimeters of the Hopi Plazas and Kivas.  They are considered to be very scary.  The whips they carry are made from the yucca plant and they will use them to warn you to behave but they are also not afraid to use them.  These Katsina are meant to remind the Hopi people of their responsibilities and way of life, to not forget.

All Kachina dolls are carved out of the root of the Cottonwood tree. The Cottonwood tree’s vigorous roots travel far and deep in search of water. There is spiritual importance in this fact, as the Hopis are dry farmers in an arid part of Arizona and the search for water is of critical importance to their culture.  The beard on this doll is horse hair and the bright teal blue on the feathers is so unusual.  The interesting materials used and the distressed traditional carving technique made this wonderful, sacred Katsina so much fun to capture in paint.

Original painting available through King Galleries  |  |  480.440.3912 (Santa Fe), 480.481.0187 (Scottsdale)