Hopituh Shi-nu-mu Ma’alo Katsina Doll


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Once Known Native American Carver

The Ma'alo Katsina Doll: A Symbol of Hopi Pueblo Tradition and Spirituality

This carving is a Ma'alo Katsina Doll, a remarkable representation of the Hopituh Shi-nu-mu (Hopi Pueblo) culture, believed to have been crafted in the mid-twentieth century. The doll is meticulously carved from the root of a cottonwood tree and adorned with matte commercial paints. Apart from the feathers adorning its head, the doll is an all-wood carving, reflecting the traditional craftsmanship of the Hopi Pueblo.

The face of the doll is a faithful representation of the Ma'alo Katsina, distinguished by its unique ears that deviate from the standard design. The traditional Ma'alo Katsina is characterized by a blossom for one ear and hair cascading over the other.

In the early 1900s, the Ma'alo Katsina was one of the most popular figures in the katsinam dances. He was a frequent participant in the Niman dances, often appearing alongside Hemis, Angak'china, and Kuwan Heheya. Typically, he would be accompanied by Takursh Mana, portrayed as his sister, dancing in a separate line parallel to him. Interestingly, the Ma'alo Katsina is not often seen in contemporary dances, reflecting the dynamic nature of katsina appearances over time.

The Ma'alo Katsina traditionally appeared as a Niman Katsina on First Mesa and participated in other ceremonies on Second and Third Mesas. As one of the older traditional Hopi katsinas from the early period of katsina development, he performs a dance that embodies a prayer for rain and a bountiful crop yield. This doll, therefore, serves as a tangible link to the rich spiritual traditions and agricultural practices of the Hopi Pueblo.

What is a Katsina?

Condition: very good condition

Provenance: this Hopituh Shi-nu-mu Ma'alo Katsina Doll is  from the collection of a gallery client

Reference: Kachinas: a Hopi artist’s documentary by Barton Wright

TAGS: Kachina – Katsina DollHopi Pueblo

Alternate close-up view of the face of this Katsina doll.

Once Known Native American Carver
C4726A-kachina2.jpgC4726A-large2.jpg Click on image to view larger.