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Knowledge about Native Americans

Kachina Doll Information

Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls are gifts given in hope of future abundance and health, as well as tools for education. The Kachina dolls of today's art market are a bridge not only between the spiritual world and mortals but also between Hopis and non-Hopis. Each year Kachinas come, they walk upon the earth and they dance to bring life and renewal. When the Kachinas return to the spirit world at the end of the planting, they return with prayers of the Hopi that we might all continue on this earth for another round in the circle of life. There are more than 250 different kachinas, each with its own separate attributes, representing everything from animals to abstract concepts. The Hopi were the original Kachina doll carvers, using a single piece of cottonwood root. The Navajo began carving in their own creative way, adding leather,feather, beads and turquoise. For over 2000 years the Indians of the Southwest have danced beneath the heavens, praying to the great spirits for rain and a bountiful harvest. These spirits are embodied by Kachinas (ka chee`nas). Kachinas represent the spirits of created beings like the soaring eagle and the cunning wolf. During religious ceremonies, the Indians dress up in the elaborate costumes of Kachinas in a celebration of the harmony of creation.

Hopi Sunface Kachina Doll
Sunface Kachina hand carved by Hopi Kachina Doll artist Milton Howard Alltribes.com

History

In recent years many Native Americans, including the Navajo, have embraced the creation of Kachina figurines. There are more than 250 different kachinas, each with its own separate attributes, representing everything from animals to abstract concepts. Kachina Dolls are models of the Kachinas and represent their likeness and traits. The dolls are gifts given to children and families in hope of future abundance and health as well as tools for education. The Kachina dolls of today's art market are a bridge not only between the spiritual world and mortals but also between Hopis and non-Hopis. The Hopi were the original Kachina doll carvers, using a single piece of cottonwood root. Their traditions were not isolated and soon the Navajo began carving in their own creative way, adding leather, feathers, fur, beads, and turquoise. Each year Kachinas come, they walk upon the earth and they dance to bring life and renewal, distribute gifts to the children, and reinforce the connection between the spirit world and the people. When the Kachinas return to the spirit world at the end of the planting, they return with the prayers of the Hopi that we might all continue on this earth for another round in the circle of life.

Religion

Kachinas originate from the religious and spiritual beliefs of the Pueblo Indians, in particular the Hopi and the Zuni Kachinas are spirits, often of animals, who carry the prayers of the people. During : Kachina ceremonies and dances, the men who wear the masks and dress of these spirits are also called : Kachinas because it is believed that they become the spirits of the Kachina. Kachina ceremonies take place during the first half of the : Hopi religious calendar from winter solstice to mid-July. There are five major ceremonies, lasting nine days each. Most of these ceremonies and dances are held in the underground Kivas where only the initiated may see them.

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