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Warrior Mouse Story Doll

Preston Ami

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.
MEDIUM Cottonwood root, pigment
DATES ca. 1990
DIMENSIONS 7 x 2 3/8 x 3 1/2 in. (17.8 x 6 x 8.9 cm)
SIGNATURE Signed on botton: "Preston Ami Mouse"
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Gift of Joan and Sanford Krotenberg
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Mouse figure depicted as a warrior, carrying a bow, a rattle and satchel on his back. Not really a kachina but honored as such. Story is that a chicken hawk was killing off all the chickens in the village. He was too fast and too clever for all the men to catch. The animals decided to do something but no one volunteered until a little mouse said he would. He took two sticks, one straight and pointed and the other with a Y in it and set it as if a tripod in the grass. Then he climbed on a rock and sang silly songs challenging the hawk. Seeing this he bird flew down fast, diving faster and faster and at the last minute the mouse jumped away and the hawk was impaled on the stick in the grass. Since then the Hopi People have added the little mouse as a kachina.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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