Hopi Crow Mother Katsina Doll in the Guise of Crow Bride


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Gloria Navasie, Hopi Artisan

Artist Signature of Gloria Navasie, Hopi PuebloThis small Crow Bride katsina doll, made by Hopi Pueblo artist Gloria Navasie, is an all wood, one-piece carving of the finest detail.  She has her head turned up toward the sky, and she holds a basket of cornmeal with both hands.  Her beautiful cape is wrapped around both shoulders and has intricate designs painted on the neck and hem lines.  Along her left side hangs a beautifully carved sash.  Her manta was exquisitely textured and painted. Her feet are petite and covered in moccasins.  The carving is a jewel executed in wood and paint.

The Hopi consider Angwusnasomtaqa (Crow Mother) to be a Katsina Mother. She is presented as a stately personage, moving slowly and singing quietly. It is she who initiates the young boys into the Katsina beliefs and culture. In this function, she is more forceful to gain the attention of the boys and deliver her message of the importance of the Katsina culture.

There are two functions for which she is known—one is as Crow Mother and the other as Crow Bride.  We offer the following explanations of the dual options.

As Crow Bride, (Angwushahai-i) she performs a role quite apart from her appearance as the Crow Mother.  There is a legend that relates her journey as a bride and her return as a married woman. As the Crow Bride she appears at second dawning to the east of the village and moves slowly toward the town bearing in her hands a large tray of corn sprouts.  Entering the village, she pauses and begins to sing in a subdued voice. Completing the song, she moves sedately forward to another point and again pauses to repeat the performance. At each pause women come forward to take one of the corn sprouts from her tray and to cast cornmeal upon her.  Her slow progress eventually brings her at full dawn to the Chief Kiva where the kiva chiefs await her. In some villages, she is joined by Eototo and Aholi to whom she gives prayer feathers and cornmeal. She then makes her dignified way out of the village and disappears toward her home in the San Francisco Peaks. [Wright, 1973:23]

As Crow Mother, (Angwusnasomtaka) she appears on all three mesas, usually in connection with the initiation of the children, although she also appears on other occasions.  At the initiation rites, she descends into the kiva bearing many yucca blades bound together at the base. She takes a position at one corner of the large sand painting on the floor of the kiva, with one of her “sons” on either side of her.  As the candidate is brought to the sand painting, she hands a whip to one of the Hú Katsinas who gives the child four healthy strokes with the yucca blade. When the yucca becomes worn it is handed back to the Crow Mother who then supplies a new one.  When the initiatory whipping is over, she raises her skirts and receives the same treatment accorded the children. They are then given prayer feathers and cornmeal and leave the kiva. [Wright, 1973:66]

What is a Kachina?

Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Hopi Crow Mother Katsina Doll in the Guise of Crow Bride is from the estate of a family from New Mexico

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

Relative Links: Kachina – Katsina DollHopi PuebloGloria Navasie

Gloria Navasie, Hopi Artisan
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