Little River Grandfather - Tunei-nili Katsina

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Carver Unknown

This very animated carving of Tunei-nili imparts a feeling to the viewer of a dancer in motion. The carver did an exceptional job on this Navajo-derived Katsina, who was inspired by the Navajo Rain Gods, the Tone-nili, who appear on the sixth day of the Navajo Yeibichai Ceremony, and was incorporated into the Hopi pantheon of Gods.

Tunei-nili has the responsibility of looking after the Navajo or Tasap Katsinas and is usually a side dancer for them. The name Tunei-nili Bitzai means "little wash" or "little river grandfather." He sometimes appears with the Velvet Shirt Katsina.

His connection to the Hopi Katsinas honoring their Diné neighbors is obvious in this one’s clothing.  He wears a Diné-style kilt, a concha belt, Diné sashes on his legs, and a ketoh on his wrist.  Although representing a Diné personage, his is a Hopi Katsina like any others.

 

Condition: this Little River Grandfather - Tunei-nili Katsina is in very good condition with missing item from his left hand

Provenance: from a family in Oregon to whom we sold this doll in 2005.

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

Relative Links: HopiKatsinaNavajoKatsina

Close up of the symbol on the back of the Katsina's head.

Carver Unknown
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