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These uniquely Hopi artworks are called "dolls," but that is a bit of a misnomer.
Kachinas (or katsinas) are actually stylized religious icons, meticulously carved from
cottonwood root and painted to represent figures from Hopi mythology. For generations, these figures have been used to teach children about their religion;
no Hopi child has ever teethed on a katsina or taken one to bed, and given their price, I doubt any non-Hopi child has either.
If you are looking for native-made dolls for children or as cultural collectibles, please visit our
Native American dolls page.
Authentic kachina dolls are made only by Hopi artists. There are plenty of other tribes with their own figurine-carving traditions, but the kachina tradition is unique to the Hopi. When you see Navajo kachinas or Mexican kachinas, those are imitations of the real Hopi kachinas, just as much so as kachinas made by white people or imported from Korea are. Genuine kachina dolls are made by only a small number of Hopi carvers who have dedicated their lives to this art--it takes years of practice and religious study to master kachina carving. If you are looking to buy a katsina doll that was actually made by Hopi Indians--either because it's important to you to have the real thing or because you want to support the Hopis with your purchase--then here is our list of kachina-makers whose work is available online. If you have a website of Indian sculpture to add to this list, let us know. We gladly advertise any individual native artist or native-owned art store here free of charge, provided that all artworks were made by tribally recognized American Indian, Inuit, or First Nations artists.
This Hopi-owned art store offers a selection of kachina dolls from famous and lesser-known carvers.
Intricate katsina dolls by Hopi carver Milton Howard. This store also sells Hopi jewelry and pottery.
American Indian Kachinas and Dolls|
This craft shop carries Hopi katsinas as well as dolls from various tribes.
|Traditional Hopi Kachinas: A New Generation of Carvers||Hopi Kachina Dolls: With a Key to Their Identification||A Guide to Hopi Katsina Dolls||Kachinas: Spirit Beings of the Hopi|
|A great introduction to kachina dolls and the artists who make them. Color photos.||Photographic encyclopedia of the different Hopi kachinas and their mythological representations.||Photographs and descriptions of contemporary and historic Hopi katsinas.||This book shows traditional kachina dance costumes, not the figurines. Good overview of Hopi spirituality and kachina dancing.|
About us: This website belongs to Native Languages of the Americas, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting endangered Native American languages. We are not artists ourselves, so if you are interested in buying some of the carvings featured on this page, please contact the artists directly. Though we have featured only authentic Hopi katsina dolls whose artists are identified by name, we haven't called the tribal offices to check up on any of them, and we only know a few of them personally. We also don't guarantee any of their products. This is not an exhaustive list of Hopi kachina makers--if you would like us to add your kachina carving site to this page, please contact us with your URL and tribal affiliation. We advertise any individual native artist or native-owned art business here free of charge. We do not link to kachinas which are not made by tribally recognized Hopi artists, so please do not ask us to. And finally, websites do occasionally expire and change hands, so use your common sense and this general rule of thumb: if the creator of each individual artwork is not identified by name and tribal affiliation, creator of each individual artwork is not identified by name and specific tribe, you are probably not looking at a genuine Native American kachina doll.
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