Hopi Cottonwood Root Tunei-nili Katsina Doll [SOLD]


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Artist Unknown

Tunei-nili is a Navajo-derived katsina.  He is the individual who looks after the Navajo or Tasap Katsinas and is usually called a side dancer for them.  He may not always appear with the Tasap, however.  He was inspired by the Navajo Rain Gods the Tone-nili, who appear on the sixth day of the Navajo Yeibichai Ceremony.  The name Tunei-nili Bitzai means "little wash" or "little river grandfather." He sometimes appears with the Velvet Shirt Katsinas also. 


This very animated carving of Tunei-nili imparts a feeling to the viewer of a dancer in motion. This katsina is always presented in an animated motion so it is assumed that he is an active dancer when present.


This carving dates to the 1960s and is in very good condition.  It is not signed with the name of the carver.  The doll will stand unaided even though he leans forward.


Condition:  very good condition overall with a slight crack at the shoulder joint on the back of the left arm.

Provenance: from the collection of a family from Oklahoma which is downsizing its enormous collection of Native American art.

Recommended Reading: Wright, Barton. Kachinas a Hopi Artist’s Documentary with original paintings by Cliff Bahnimptewa

Artist Unknown
C3843H-kachina.jpgC3843H-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.