Hopi Kachina dolls

Hopi Kachina (Katsina) dolls are made from the roots of cottonwood trees. These dolls actually represent masked spirits of the Hopi nation called “kachina”. The kachina are spirits of Hopi deities, the deceased ancestors, animals and different natural elements. The Hopi mainly live in the northeast of Arizona, USA. According to their ancient beliefs most of kachina exist in on the Humphreys Peak (elevation of 3,852 metres) located some 17.7 kilometres north of Flagstaff, Arizona.

Hopi Kachina doll
Hopi Kachina doll

The Hopi believe that kachina spirits arrive to their settlements from the winter solstice until mid-July. The kachina dance and bring rain essential for local agriculture. These spirits also bring some gifts for the kids. There are four basic groups of Hopi Kachina dolls – Putsqatihu, Putstihu taywa’yla, Muringputihu and Tithu. Nowadays there are also special miniature kachina dolls. They are sold to tourists. They do not have spiritual value.

Hopi Kachina dolls
Hopi Kachina dolls

Certain colours and the design of each doll include numerous symbols important to the Hopi. For example, two vertical lines under doll's eye symbolize warrior's footprints. Red colour signifies the direction of north or northwest. All colours put together mean zenith (heaven).