Hopi Pueblo Qöqöle Katsina Doll by Walter Howato [SOLD]


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Walter Howato, Hopi Pueblo Carver

This carving of Qöqöle Katsina is an all-wood one made by Hopi Oywvki carver Walter Howato.  It appears to be an old carving, however, Walter Howato made his carvings appear to be older than the period when he was carving in the 1960s and later.  This doll would date to the last quarter of the twentieth century.  Walter Howato used soft pastel colors of pink, blue, yellow, red, and white on the doll.  

Walter Howato is known to have launched into a series of experiments to see if he could make his carving look really old. He found the secret in the early 1960's.  Four Hopi Pueblo artists were most responsible for the revival of carving traditional "Old Style" Katsina dolls:

- Walter Howato of First Mesa 

- Manfred Susunkewa from Second Mesa

- Jimmy Koots of Third Mesa

- Jimmy Kewanwytewa (Jimmy K) of Moenkopi

These artists influenced other carvers from their villages and mesas. Over a hundred carvers joined in the "Renaissance" of carving traditional "Old Style" Katsina dolls.

Walter Howato (1921-2003) was an interesting man.  When we met, he was living in Denver and would drive to Albuquerque to bring dolls to sell.  But that was late in his career. Earlier, his education had been at the Santa Fe Indian School in the 1930s.  He was then hired by Walt Disney Studios where he “played as an Indian at Disneyland and sometimes painted” he said, as well as interior decorating with R. C. Gorman, who also was in California at that time.  Leaving Disneyland, he returned to his Hopi home where he found it difficult to earn enough money to support his family. He then went to work in construction where he helped build Glen Canyon dam to form Lake Powell.  

“In the early 1960s, Walter increased his activity as a Katsina carver.  Around 1965, Tucson Indian art trader Tom Bahti commissioned him to make a duplicate of an old Shalako Katsina doll.  Walter launched into a series of experiments to see if he could make his carving look really old.  He found the secret was to mix pigments with a white clay called tuuma.  He built up multiple layers of pigments, painted areas of the wood, let it set a little, and then used a clean, wet brush to diffuse the pigments.  He also used very old and wind-worn cottonwood roots.  The results were amazing.  At arm's length, his dolls look a century old.  He recalled, ‘It took many hours of painstaking work to achieve the right look’.” [Schaaf, 2008:137]

Walter Howato passed away at the young age of 82 years.

What is a Kachina?

Condition: very good condition

Provenance: this Hopi Pueblo Qöqöle Katsina Doll by Walter Howato is from a gentleman from New Mexico

Reference: Schaaf, Gregory. Hopi Katsina: 1,600 Artist Biographies

TAGS: Hopi PuebloR.C. GormanSan Ildefonso PuebloKatsina dollsJimmy KootsRomando Vigil, Tse Ye MuManfred SusunkewaJimmy Kewanwytewa (Jimmy K)Walter Howato, Hopi Pueblo Carver

Close up view of the Hopi Pueblo Qöqöle Katsina Doll.