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Mid-twentieth Century Kwahu - Eagle Katsina Doll


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Carver Unknown

Birds of different types are represented among the Katsinam, but the most popular and most sought-after is the Kwahu or Eagle Katsina. The feathers of the Eagle are very important in all the Hopi ceremonies. The Eagle Dance is a colorful dance and a prayer for moisture, good crop yield, and plentiful eagle feathers. The sponsoring Kiva members must fast, abstaining from eating salty and fatty foods, and contact with the opposite sex, before the dance. March is the time of year one might see the Eagle Katsina performing in a night ceremony at Hopi. The dancer imitates the step and motion and cry of the eagle almost to perfection.

The wings of the eagle were carved from wood—a feature that has preserved the winds from deterioration of feathers.  The wings were attached to the arms with leather strips. He wears a fur ruff around his neck and carries a feather in each hand and a single feather on his head.  

The doll appears to be from the mid-twentieth century and is in very good condition condition.  He does not stand independently as he was made to be hung by the string on his back.

Condition: very good condition

Provenance: from the collection of a gentleman from Santa Fe


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

Relative Links: Kachina – Katsina Doll, Hopi Pueblo

Carver Unknown
26156-kachina.jpg26156-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.