Kachina Doll (Tsepothle)
Arts of the Americas
In the southwestern United States, a supernatural being that represents a life-force or embodies a natural phenomenon such as the sun, the moon, a plant, or an animal is called a koko by the Zuni and a katsina (commonly anglicized as “kachina”) by the Hopi. Such beings have the power to control rainfall, crop growth, and fertility; to cure and protect; and to act as messengers between the gods and human beings. Carved kachina figures, also known as kachina dolls, are representations of these spirits and can have a sacred or an educational purpose. During some ceremonies, the carvings are given to community members to reward virtuous behavior, recognize a recent marriage, or teach children about religion. In the 1800s, a lively market for the carvings developed among non-Native collectors and tourists, giving rise to the elaborate art form that flourishes today.
Wood, pigment, fur, feathers, cotton cloth, wool yarn
late 19th-early 20th century
17 5/16 x 5 1/2 x 5 7/8 in. (44 x 14 x 14.9 cm) (show scale)
Museum Expedition 1904, Museum Collection Fund
This kachina is one of a group that was made by commission and has not been clearly identified. He wears the usual dance skirt, has painted dance shoes, and a fur ruff around his neck with a feathered headdress. His snout is in the shape of a wolf or coyote showing teeth along the edges, and his eyes protrude in balls.
CONDITION: Proper left arm has been broken and repaired at forearm. Proper right arm has been broken and repaired at elbow. Feathers show insect damage.
This item is not on view
Mau-i (A:shiwi (Zuni Pueblo)). Kachina Doll (Tsepothle), late 19th-early 20th century. Wood, pigment, fur, feathers, cotton cloth, wool yarn, 17 5/16 x 5 1/2 x 5 7/8 in. (44 x 14 x 14.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1904, Museum Collection Fund, 04.297.5341. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 04.297.5341_transp6235.jpg)
overall, 04.297.5341_transp6235.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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