Dane G. Hansen Museum
Hopi Katsina Dolls
From the KU Museum of Anthropology
"They serve as intermediaries between the Hopi and their gods, carrying their prayers for rain, fertility, health, and well-being." The Dane G. Hansen Memorial Museum is very excited to bring western Kansas, a unique exhibit orf 81 Hopi katsina dolls. The dolls on exhibit, November 12, 1999 through January 9, 2000, will be arranged according to the order of their ceremonial appearance.
During this century, katsina dolls have become popular collector's items, and today they rank among the most desirable of Hapi hand-crafted artistic creations. Each of the estimated 300-400 katsinam (plural for katsina) has characteristic behaviors, functions, and regalia. The Hopi call these spiritual helpers their "friends." Miniature representations of the dolls are carved from cottonwood roots and given to uninitiated girls during katsina ceremonies. As inferred from the findings of archaeological research, since at least the 14th century, the religious practices of the Hopi, Native Americans of Arizona, have involved ceremonies that focus on the spiritual beings known as the "katsina." Although the spelling kachina is frequent in the literature, this exhibition will use katsina, as a closer equivalent to Hopi pronunciation and the spelling preferred by most Hopis.
The overview of Hopi katsinam presented in this exhibition is drawn from extensive literature on the Hopi, dating from before the turn of the century to the present. During this period, many changes have occurred in Hopi religious practices, details of which are not reflected in this exhibition. Older katsinam have gone out of vogue, while newer katsinam have appeared. The conveniences of modern technology and goods are also a part of contemporary katsina ceremonies. Despite these changes, confidence in the katsinam and participation in katsina ceremonies have continued as a basic component of the Hopi way.
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