Hopi Sio Hemis Katsina Doll, circa 1940s [SOLD]


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Artist Unknown

The Hemis and Sio Hemis Katsinas are probably the most beautiful and best known of all Hopi Katsinas. Their elaborate headdress, called a tableta, is partly responsible for their attraction. They both wear a kilt, and around the waist a Hopi embroidered sash.


These katsinas appear in the Home Dance or Niman Ceremony. No other katsinas, neither clowns nor side dancers appear with the line of Hemis except the Hemis Manas. It is interesting to note that at Hopi, they refer to the Sio Hemis Katsina as having come from the Rio Grande Jemez Pueblo of New Mexico. At Jemez Pueblo, they refer to a similar dance as a Hopi dance.


The Sio Hemis Katsina is an import at Hopi from Zuni Pueblo, probably in the 1890s.  He may substitute for the traditional Hopi Hemis during the Niman Ceremony of mid-July.  There is very little difference between the Hemis and Sio Hemis except for the decoration of the tableta.  The Hopi Hemis has towering clouds and rain depicted on the tableta, while the Sio Hemis has dragonflies and sunflowers with smaller clouds at the top.


This carving is probably from the1940s based on having been painted with tempera paints rather than acrylic paints.  The tableta was made from solid wood, not plywood, another indication of the early date.


Condition: very good condition for its age.  The front of the left foot is missing.  The right foot was broken and repaired.

Provenance: from a gentleman from Albuquerque who inherited it from his grandmother

Reference:  Kachinas: A Hopi Artists Documentary by Barton Wright

Close up view of this Kachina.

Artist Unknown
25970-kachina.jpg25970-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.