Hopi Cottonwood Polimana - Butterfly Girl Doll [SOLD]


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Artist Unknown

The Polimana is a participant in one of the social dances in late August following the katsina season.  She does not wear a face covering but her eyes are ordinarily covered by bangs of her hair.  She is similar in all the mesas and villages.

Social dances constitute prayers to the katsinas for the benefits of good health and good harvest, and, in some sense, they are like a harvest dance, like a Thanksgiving dance.  That is partially why they are performed primarily in August.  The females who are dancing are considered to appear as Butterflies.

The Polimana or Butterfly Girl Dancers are frequently mistaken for katsinas but are not, any more than are the Palhikmana.  The Butterfly performance is a social dance and children from the age of three to great-grandmothers may be seen dancing with partners of equal age spans.

This carving is quite likely from the 1930s but may be as late as the mid-1940s.  It appears that the paint is pre-acrylic era.  A large squash blossom decorates the tableta.  She wears a traditional pueblo manta with a shawl draped over her shoulders that falls down her back.  She is barefoot, the traditional way females dance as a means to connect to the earth.

Condition: this Hopi Cottonwood Polimana - Butterfly Girl Doll is in very good condition.  No apparent damage or repairs

Provenance: from the collection of a gentleman from Santa Fe who is moving to California and downsizing his collection

Recommended Reading: Kachinas: the Barry Goldwater Collection at the Heard Museum

Close up view of the face and tableta of this doll.