Fred Harvey Advertising Department Collection Unidentified Hopi Katsina Doll

C4384-22-kachina.jpg

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Carver Unknown
  • Category: Traditional
  • Origin: Hopi Pueblo, Hopituh Shi-nu-mu
  • Medium: wood, feathers, paint
  • Size: 14-⅜” height + ½” pedestal
  • Item # C4384.22
  • Price: $1,150.00

It is interesting to speculate as to the carver who made these dolls, probably on special order from the Fred Harvey Company Advertising Department.  Did he have instructions from the Advertising Department on which katsinas to make, or what size to make them, or on how to make them appealing to a public audience?  Maybe or maybe not.  What we do know is that they have the look of authentic Hopi Katsina dolls representing specific Hopi katsinas, however, there are variations taken by the carver that prevent identification of which katsina is being represented.

This carving has a face that is modelled after Nuvak’china Katsina, if one assumes the posts protruding from the head represent the sun shield of Nuvak’china, and the black triangle over the mouth represents the similar mark with steps that adorns the face of Nuvak’china.  The stepped design on the forehead is like that of Nuvak’china.  The body paint is not at all like that of Nuvak’china, however.  It is more closely related to the white body of Kwivi Katsina without the elaborate painted designs.  The black triangle over the mouth is quite similar to that of Kwivi.

Now we have to consider if the carver, with the understanding that his dolls were going to be used to advertise the religious beings of the Hopi, chose to make changes that would not represent an existing or past spirit being of the Hopi, but would look similar enough to pass muster with an uninformed white person.  It is documented that, as early as the 1920s, some carvers were doing this because of their religious beliefs.  That does not make such a doll a fake, as it is a carving by a Hopi in the style of a katsina.

How the Fred Harvey Company Advertising Department used these carvings is not known to me at this time.  Did they display them in Fred Harvey gift shops?  Did they send them to schools for non-Hopi children to study?  About all we know is that they were part of the Advertising Department’ inventory, and we have to leave it at that for now.

Dolls of this group are considered collectible because of their connection to the Fred Harvey Company and the mystery of their purpose.  Someday, someone associated with the Fred Harvey Company may shed light on these.


Condition: there is a crack down the left side of the doll and the left arm has been broken and glued.  The feathers appear to be new additions to the doll.

Provenance: this Fred Harvey Advertising Department Collection Unidentified Hopi Katsina Doll is from the collection of a resident of Washington

Reference: Wright, Barton. Hopi Kachinas: The Complete Guide to Collecting Kachina Dolls, Northland Publishing 1977

Relative Links: Kachina – Katsina DollHopi PuebloFred Harvey Company

Close up view of this Kachina doll face.


Carver Unknown
  • Category: Traditional
  • Origin: Hopi Pueblo, Hopituh Shi-nu-mu
  • Medium: wood, feathers, paint
  • Size: 14-⅜” height + ½” pedestal
  • Item # C4384.22
  • Price: $1,150.00

C4384-22-kachina.jpgC4384-22-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.