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Very Rare Zuni Pueblo Atosh'le Katsina Doll

C3535-19-kachina.jpg

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Carver Unknown
  • Category: Traditional
  • Origin: Zuni Pueblo
  • Medium: wood, paint, fur, feathers, buckskin
  • Size: 9-1/2” Tall
  • Item # C3535.19
  • Price: $1,200.00

“The Atoshle were horrid beings who lived in the caves . . . among the rocks north of Zuni.  They were killed by the Two Little War Gods and, afterwards . . .became the Atoshle kachinas.  There are six of these Atoshle, who may come to visit Zuni with their wives, but they will always return to the Sacred Lake.  Occasionally, one of them will light a fire on Corn Mountain and the next day come to visit the peach orchards to catch anyone eating unripe fruit or stealing someone else’s.  If Atoshle finds a thief, he empties the stolen fruit into his own basket and throws the empty sack in the top of a fruit tree.

“Long ago when the earth was soft, a Zuni boy, K-aiyuani, told the secrets of the kachinas and for .... his punishment .... several kachinas were selected for this duty, but Atoshle, who was considered, was rejected because he always talked too much and told everyone his business; he was also unfit because he was a cannibal who ate children.

“In January when Atoshle and his wife visit the children, he carries a large blood-stained knife, which he uses to sweep the hair back from his bulging eyes, leaving his hair smeared with blood.  His wife carries a basket on her back and a long crook for catching children.  The Koyemshi usually accompany them.  As they draw near a house, Atoshle rushes toward it and then withdraws and rushes again, striking the door with his knife on the fourth approach.  The inhabitants may beat drums or clang tin pans together in a futile effort to frighten him away.  Once inside, he berates the children in a chilling falsetto voice that can be heard throughout the village and often makes them perform the duties they have been avoiding.  The threat of being carried off in the basket to be eaten later is used with great effect, and, occasionally, Atoshle will add to this horror by pretending to bite one of the adults present.  The monsters are eventually bought off with meat from the household and are forced out, where they make their way to the next place as every youngster they meet rushes to hide.”  Wright 1985

In this carving, the maker has added a basket on the back of the ogre and placed a miniature Koyemshi Katsina doll in the basket as if the ogre has captured one of the Koyemshi who accompanies him on his rounds.  The doll is typically Zuni in style, that is, it has been dressed in clothing.  The arms have been secured to the body and do not articulate.  The doll does stand unaccompanied but could be hung if desired.

 

Condition: this Zuni Pueblo Atosh'le Katsina Doll is in very good condition with exception that the left arm has been broken and glued.  There is no other damage.

Provenance: this Zuni Pueblo Atosh'le Katsina Doll was sold to a client in 1985 from whom it is now available for re-sale.

Reference: Kachinas of the Zuni by Barton Wright with original paintings by Duane Dishta, 1985.

close up view

Carver Unknown
  • Category: Traditional
  • Origin: Zuni Pueblo
  • Medium: wood, paint, fur, feathers, buckskin
  • Size: 9-1/2” Tall
  • Item # C3535.19
  • Price: $1,200.00

C3535-19-kachina.jpgC3535-19-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.