Hopi Mongwa - Great Horned Owl Katsina Doll [R]


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Otto Pentewa (1886-1961) Sikovaya - Pumpkin Flower

The Great Horned Owl Katsina, as a warrior, is relentless in persecuting the clowns. He stands to the edge of the dance circle while the clowns are performing and he watches disapprovingly of their antics as they perform their un-Hopi-behavior.  Near the end of the dance, a group of Mongwa swoops down on the clowns and beat them with yucca whips, douses them with water, and leaves them piled up in the center of the plaza in pain.


This carving of a Mongwa features him with a yucca whip in one hand and a bow in the other.  He appears to be waiting until the clowns finish their dance.  This is an elaborate carving and is probably no later than the 1940s, perhaps earlier.  It is primitive in a way but charming as well.  It is not signed with the name of a carver but does have the notation K-7 painted on the underside. 


Otto Pentewa was born around 1886 (date uncertain) into the Kachina Clan in the Third Mesa village of Oraibi.  His last name, Pentewa, was modified from the original name Tuwaventewa.  His personal Hopi name was Sikovaya, meaning “Pumpkin Flower.”  He started carving katsina dolls shortly after the turn of the century and sold them to tourists for between one to three dollars.  He moved to the new village Kykotsmovi, built a house, got married and fathered eleven children.  To support his family, Pentewa continued to carve dolls.


Condition: The carving is in excellent condition. 

Provenance: from the estate of Tom Mittler, a former resident of Michigan and Santa Fe who purchased it from Marti Struever in 1985

Referenced material: Hopi Katsina 1,600 Artist Biographies by Gregory Schaaf

Otto Pentewa (1886-1961) Sikovaya - Pumpkin Flower
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