Hopi Pueblo Chusona or Snake Dance Doll [SOLD]


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Artist Unknown

At the end of the nineteenth century, very few tourists had ever seen the Hopi Snake Dance; however, many had heard tales of a dramatic ritual that only occurred every other year in isolated Indian villages in Arizona. This religious ceremony that Victorian society found so horrifyingand so fascinatingsoon grew into a symbolic representation of "Indian Country" in the Southwest. The Passenger Department of the Santa Fe Railway played upon sensationalist, tourist visions of American Indians when it published Walter Hough's travel guide The Moki Snake Dance.  It was described as A popular account of that unparalleled dramatic pagan ceremony of the Pueblo Indians of Tusayan, Arizona, with incidental mention of their life and customs.

This carving of a Hopi Snake Dancer dates to the mid-20th century and is in excellent condition. Unfortunately, the carver remains anonymous but would not likely have admitted carving it at the time anyway. Very few carvers today will carve these figures and it was even more restrictive a century ago. This is an excellent example of a Hopi Snake Dancer


Condition: very good condition after having some paint touch up by a professional conservator.

Provenance: from the extensive collection of a family from Oklahoma

Recommended Reading: The Moki Snake Dance by Walter Hough Ph.D.  An Avanyu Publishing 1992 reprint of the original is currently available from Adobe Gallery.

Close up view of the dancer's face

Artist Unknown
C3843D-snake.jpgC3843D-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.