Kachina Doll (Ata Ona)
Arts of the Americas
On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
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, hide, cotton cloth, feathers, pigment
late 19th-early 20th century
Height: 14 11/16 in. (37.3 cm)
mount (display dimensions): 16 x 5 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (40.6 x 14 x 11.4 cm) (show scale)
Museum Expedition 1904, Museum Collection Fund
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Mau-i (She-we-na (Zuni Pueblo)). Kachina Doll (Ata Ona), late 19th-early 20th century. Wood, hide, cotton cloth, feathers, pigment, Height: 14 11/16 in. (37.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1904, Museum Collection Fund, 04.297.5357. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 04.297.5357_acetate_bw.jpg)
overall, 04.297.5357_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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This Kachina is one of a group that was commissioned and has not been clearly identified. He wears a helmet-style mask and a raised headband in the front. He has a tubular-shaped nose. The top of the head is decorated with feathers with an additional bunch tied near the neck. The figure is elaborately dressed with complete cotton shirt and skirt, both painted with traditional designs. The tall hide boots are fringed.
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