Lot 90E: Hopi Katsina Rattle Doll - Rarely Carved

Artemis Gallery

October 27, 2016
Louisville, CO, US

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Description: Native American, Southwest, northeastern Arizona, Hopi, signed C. Lomanattewa, ca. 20th century CE. A Hopi Ahola Katsina doll signed by C. Lomanattewa on the underside of the base, hand-carved, hand-painted, adorned with bird feathers, and orange yarn wristlets. The Rattle Katsina (known as Aya) is actually rarely carved. The name is derived from the mask, which possesses a visage that resembles a Hopi rattle traditionally given to children at the Powamuya or Niman ceremonies. Aya is the name used for Hopi dance rattles. These Katsinam attend the ceremonies in pairs; however, they race one at a time. Some Aya Katsinam are armed with yucca whips which they use to swat the loser of each race. The Aya mask is painted with sun designs on each side. The center of the design represents the earth and the black cross symbolizes the four cardinal directions. The small white dot in the center of the earth represents the planet's moisture. The mask is also adorned with a black design that resembles stitches. These stitches represent the Milky Way Galaxy, or where we exist in the universe. A wonderful and rare example. Size: 9.75" H (24.8 cm)

The Katsinam, supernatural beings who live in the high mountains of the San Francisco Peaks above traditional Hopi territory, speak to the Hopi through costumed dance and song. These dancers emerge from the round ceremonial kivas that are at the center of their communities, singly or in groups, and dance to the music of drums, rattles, and song. Imitating and representing them are Katsina figures (katsina dolls, katsin-tihu), made of cottonwood root. Cottonwood is culturally symbolic because the cottonwood tree, once abundant in traditional Hopi lands, grows where water flows - thus, looking across a landscape, lines of cottonwood trees denote a water source in the desert. After carving, the figures are painted all over with whitewash, made from kaolin clay, and then painted in brilliant colors. Originally these were done using yucca brushes. Many of them are then decorated with other materials, like feathers, cloth, or fur. Katsina dolls are often given objects to hold which indicate their roles. Kachina dolls are not toys, but are given to young girls, representations of benevolent spirit beings.

Provenance: Ex - Himrod estate, Anaheim, CA

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Condition Report: Pinnacle of headdress and rattles once held in hands are missing. Minor surface wear and paint loss as shown.
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