Hopi Large Muy-ingwa - The Germination God


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Carver Unknown

At almost 18 inches tall, this cottonwood root carving representing Muy-ingwa-the Two-Horn Germination God-is most impressive. The width, from hand to hand it is 7-½ inches. He is broad shouldered with an impressive appearance. His clothing is traditional-kilt, embroidered sash, and woven belt. His mask is exceptional. The two long horns rise from a head full of cotton. His face is blue with rain clouds on each cheek, and an extended sun shield protruding from the top of the mask. His ears are in the shape of clouds, there are clouds on his cheeks, and additional clouds on the pair of horns. Of course, the cotton represents clouds, as well.

Muy-ingwa, the Hopi Deity, is the god of reproduction, of man, animals, and plants. He is very important in the Hopi religion. His home is in the underworld. He sends plants up from the underworld according to the desires of the farmers, expressed by the kind of seeds planted.

He is impersonated at the time of the Wuwuchim in November. The headdress of the impersonator carries two horns that curve back.

"The religion of the Hopi Indians in certain ways resembles that of the ancient Greeks. It is polytheistic, because there are many gods, and animistic because of the belief that all animate objects, plant and animal as well as some inanimate things, have spirits that the Hopi visualize in human form. When a Hopi goes out to gather yucca roots to use as a shampoo, the first plant he finds, he prays to and passes by, gathering the second one. When he goes hunting he prays to the spirit of the game and apologizes for having to take their lives.

"In the mind of the Hopi there is a distinction not very sharp between the deities and the spirits of objects. The spirits of men, animals, and plants are the kachinas which are often impersonated. The spirits of some of the deities appear as kachinas and are impersonated, but most of the deities are never impersonated or even represented by images." [Colton, 1959:77]

What is a Kachina?

Condition: good condition with minor paint abrasions

Provenance: this Hopi Large Muy-ingwa - The Germination God is from the collection of a gentleman from California

Reference: Colton, Harold S. Hopi Kachina Dolls with a Key to their Identification, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque

TAGS: Hopi Pueblo, Katsina DollsApache Indians

Close-up view of the katsina face.

Carver Unknown
26312-kachina2.jpg26312-large2.jpg Click on image to view larger.