Lot 90I: Signed Native American Hopi Ahola Katsina Doll
October 27, 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
Native American, Southwest, northeastern Arizona, Hopi, Manuel KooYanoema, ca. 20th century CE. A Hopi Ahola Katsina doll signed by Manuel KooYanoema on the underside of the base, hand-carved, hand-painted, elaborately adorned with bird feathers, and holding ritual implements in both hands. The Ahola is a Hopi Chief Katsina of a high status. Regarded as an elder possessing enormous wisdom, the Ahola participates in the Bean Dance (Powamuya) ceremony to open the Katsina season. The Ahola and Ahola Mana pay visits from house to house, bringing prayers for a healthy, fruitful life. On the outside walls of each home, the Ahola draws four horizontal marks with corn meal. The women residing in the home come out and sprinkle the Ahola with cornmeal and take some corn seeds from the Ahola Mana's basket. The Ahola and Ahola Mana then leave and proceed to the kiva entrance where they face one another. The Ahola holds his staff out for strength and support, bends his right knee, and continues kneeling in a rhythmic motion. Then he dramatically calls out to the kiva chief and the pair discuss the arrival of the Kachinam for the coming year. Size: 10.5" H (26.7 cm); 12.5" H (31.8 cm) with stand cut from log.
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: Losses to tips of handles of wooden implements in hands and wooden points of headdress. Possible feather losses. Strong painted surfaces.