Hopi Pueblo Guard Katsina, Silakafnagoingtaqa Kachina Doll


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Once Known Native American Carver

Spiritual Guardians: The Artistry of a Hopi Pueblo Katsina Doll

This exquisite piece of art, a wood carving from the Hopi Pueblo, is the work of a once-renowned Native American artisan. It depicts a significant Katsina, a spiritual being in the Hopi religion. The carving takes the form of an educational doll, a traditional tool used to impart religious teachings to young girls.

The Katsina represented here is a Tuwalakum, a term that translates to either ‘guard' or ‘warrior'. This particular figure, known as the Silakafnagoingtaqa Kachina Doll, belongs to the Tuwalakum group.

When Katsinas from the Hopi Pueblo are portrayed individually, they often take on the roles of sergeants-at-arms or policemen. In these roles, they enforce communal actions, such as the cleaning of springs, or act as guards, preventing any unauthorized approach to sacred locations or ceremonies.

However, as time has passed, many of these traditional roles have faded. Springs have been replaced by modern water systems, and the maintenance of trails and roads has been taken over by highway departments. Despite these changes, the cultural significance and historical value of these Katsina dolls remain, serving as a testament to the rich heritage of the Hopi Pueblo.

This Hopi Katsina doll is one of the guard Katsinas and he functions like all other guards or whippers. He has been seen numerous times at Powamuya making war on the clowns in the summer dances. He appears on all three mesas. -Personal Communication

When they appear as a group such as in the Powamuya Procession or during Pachavu times they are functioning as warriors. They surround the more sacred katsinas as a small but ferocious army of fearsome creatures. From these actions comes their name Ichivota or Angry Katsinas or, as they are often called, the Watching Katsinas.

Many of the Guard Katsinas carry yucca whips which are indicative of their roles as warriors, protectors, and overseers. In some instances, such as with the fearsome warrior Hé-é-e, the Guards may serve to protect certain ceremonies from the potency of other katsinas. [Wright 1977]  

What is a Kachina?

Condition: good condition

Provenance: this Hopi Pueblo Guard Katsina, Silakafnagoingtaqa Kachina Doll is from a very large collection of katsina dolls from a family from Oklahoma

Reference: Hopi Kachinas: The Complete Guide to Collecting Kachina Dolls by Barton Wright

TAGS: Katsina Dolls, Hopi Pueblo, Hopi Kachina Dolls

Alternate View of the top of this Katsina Doll.


Once Known Native American Carver
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