Katsina Dolls Image Gallery

Katsina Dolls

Through our exhibition program, the Park Library has presented the works of many talented artists, developed shows to feature CMU’s Art Collection, and designed interpretive experiences featuring the Clarke’s historical collections. We would like to revisit some of our past exhibitions — virtually — so they may be enjoyed by many.

The virtual exhibit Katsina Dolls is an overview of a show that featured a unique donation of carvings, which are part of CMU’s Art Collection. Katsina dolls, of the Hopi tradition, have different meanings determined by the intent of the artist. Out of respect for Hopi culture, it was important for the exhibit to not simply present them as art objects, but to provide interpretation to explain the difference between ‘art and sacred’ as it relates to the carvings.

Words of introduction from Alph H. Secakudu, a Hopi carver:

The Hopi believe there are benevolent spirit beings that live among them. They are called the katsinam (plural for katsina). Their belief system calls upon the katsina spirit beings to invoke growth and maturity for all mankind. The function of each spirit is very specific and there are many.

The katsina spirits are, therefore, the very important, meaningful, and beneficial counterpart in a relationship invaluable to the Hopi religious beliefs.…The katsina doll has meaning far beyond its appeal as an exotic collective.

Nevertheless, throughout the land of the Hopi, the religious mission is the same: to promote and achieve a ‘unity’ of everything in the universe.

Alph H. Secakudu, Hopi carver and author.
Following the Sun and Moon: Hopi Kachina Tradition.

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