Kachina Dolls

Hello Everyone,


The Kachina Dolls date back further than many think and were traditionally ceremonial tools. In the 19th century is when they became more well-known throughout the United States as they were made to sell and trade with settlers. Now although some of them have what kind of appears to be an eerie look to me, I decided to keep them out of my Eerie for Thoughts segment and write about them as something else.


Kachina Dolls:


To the Hopi they are known as Katsina Figures. Which were the traditional deities of the Hopi people who had control over the natural elements such as rain. They also had a large amount of control on society. From this they could bring prosperity and good harvest to the people that were part of the culture.


The Hopi Nations are prominently in Northeastern Arizona and that is where Katsina or Kachina Dolls derived from. Traditionally they were used for ceremonies to help bring in the harvest for the following year.


The Katsinas would come down from their homes in the mountains and visit the villages just after the Winter Solstice. They would dance and sing and celebrate to entice good rains and other natural factors that would yield a good harvest. They would bring gifts to the children as well.

During the time until the Katsinas visited the men of the villages would gather up cottonwood and carve in one solid figure, a Katsina figure, or Kachina Doll. This would resemble the Katsina that would be coming to visit or in prominence for the ceremony. This doll would be used to educate the children on the importance of the deity coming to visit.


Everything on the Kachina doll was important, much like the Katsina themselves, in representing aspects of nature. The colors represented different directions. Certain symbols represented their official place or other aspects such as fertility or the sign of a warrior, or spirit. Yet most of them carried the same concept of dress and design.  This would vary on the fact of the Katsina being a feminine of masculine deity.


Why Did I Post This?


Growing up in Arizona they have been a part of growing up here. I remember hearing a lot about them and seeing them at roadside stands as a child. There is a lot of myth behind them as well. Something that I will go deeper into here eventually.


The Kachina Dolls or Katsina have been portrayed in movies and books alike. They aren’t always there to bring a good harvest either, at least not in the storyline. Still, it seems that their characters are not doing the evil deeds to be bad in these story’s but are actually doing it because it is part of their job or their role in the natural flow of life.


Maybe that’s what I find so interesting about them. Maybe that’s what I find just a little eerie enough about them to think of possibly putting in “Eerie for Thoughts.” Who knows? Maybe when I dig a little deeper they will make it into that category.



Thanks for Reading,


Joshua Crane Dowidat



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