Kachina Doll (Helele)
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, hair, fur, feathers, cotton cloth, hide, plant fiber, silk ribbon
late 19th century
This item is not on view
Museum Expedition 1903, Museum Collection Fund
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
She-we-na (Zuni Pueblo). Kachina Doll (Helele), late 19th century. Wood, pigment, hair, fur, feathers, cotton cloth, hide, plant fiber, silk ribbon, 17 5/16 x 6 7/8 in. (44 x 17.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1903, Museum Collection Fund, 03.325.4652. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 03.325.4652_acetate_bw.jpg)
overall, 03.325.4652_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
This kachina has a textile snake wrapped around his neck and holds a wand in his proper right hand. His headress has two "ears" with sun forms painted on them. He wears the traditional dance skirt.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.