The Modern World During and After the World Wars, C. 1914–1960

Native American Art

What is a Hopi katsina figure?

The Hopi people, whose name means “Peaceful Ones,” are Native Americans from the American southwest. In the Hopi religion, katsinas (or, kachinas) are important benevolent spirits that personify natural elements in the real world. Representations of katsina spirits are an important part of ritual dance, when katsina dancers ceremonially impersonate the spirits. Carved figures representing katsinas are also an important part of the Hopi religious and artistic tradition. Carved katsina figures can be given to children as presents and as educational tools. Katsina spirits are often associated with rain-bringing deities, or deities related to fertility or hunting. Hopi katsina 232 figures are often made of carved cottonwood roots and decorated with feathers. They are painted with diverse patterns and symbols, for example geometric patterns that symbolize water, and lightning bolts that symbolize rain and storms.


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