Kachina Doll (Tsepothle)
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, fur, feathers, cotton cloth, wool yarn
late 19th-early 20th century
17 5/16 x 5 1/2 x 5 7/8 in. (44 x 14 x 14.9 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Museum Expedition 1904, Museum Collection Fund
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Mau-i (She-we-na (Zuni Pueblo)). Kachina Doll (Tsepothle), late 19th-early 20th century. Wood, pigment, fur, feathers, cotton cloth, wool yarn, 17 5/16 x 5 1/2 x 5 7/8 in. (44 x 14 x 14.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1904, Museum Collection Fund, 04.297.5341. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 04.297.5341_transp6235.jpg)
overall, 04.297.5341_transp6235.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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This kachina is one of a group that was made by commission and has not been clearly identified. He wears the usual dance skirt, has painted dance shoes, and a fur ruff around his neck with a feathered headdress. His snout is in the shape of a wolf or coyote showing teeth along the edges, and his eyes protrude in balls.
CONDITION: Proper left arm has been broken and repaired at forearm. Proper right arm has been broken and repaired at elbow. Feathers show insect damage.
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