Hopi Kachina Dolls


Hopi is a community of farmers who reside on the north eastern parts of Arizona. Traditionally, the Hopi Kachina Dolls were used for purposes of teaching girls as well as new brides religious issues. Authentic dolls are carved out mainly from cottonwood.

Fabricating Kachina Dolls

The ideal material for the purpose of fabricating Kachina Dolls is cotton wood. Unfortunately, this wood is very rare and is mostly found within the Hopi Lands. Due to this scarcity of cotton wood, some people have started using alternative materials for this fabrication process. One of the alternative materials is tupelo wood, which grows on swamps. The actual fabrication process of carving out the dolls has also changed over time. Some people nowadays choose to carve the different parts of the dolls separately. These parts are limbs, head and body, which are then joined at a later moment. This was not the case in the past. People used to carve out the entire doll as a single unit. A few individuals who carry on this tradition actually attract more customers than the other fabricators. In order to carve out a Kachina Doll, a person will have to have a set of carving tools: hammers, chisels, knives, and saws among others. Once the carving and assembly processes are done, the beautification procedure begins. This procedure includes whitewashing the doll with kaolin clay or similar substances, painting of different details and addition of the dolls’ details. Dolls’ details include jewellery, necklaces and earrings.

Properties of authentic Hopi Kachina Dolls

Hopi Kachina Dolls may have evolved over time as a result of culture, economy and material reasons but the traditional design concepts should never change in these pieces. These concepts give the dolls their authenticity. Actually, these concepts around the dolls’ regalia have attached meanings. The first design concept that you should look out for when buying a Kachina Doll is the Kilt and Sash. The kilt or skirt is white in colour with black edges of and has an embroidered red rain cloud towards the right side. In addition to the skirt, a red and black sash also accompanies the doll. An authentic Kachina Doll usually has very little fur and leather. These can be found on the neck and across shoulders. Too much fur or leather is a clear sign of a fake doll.

Even though the Hopi Kachina Dolls were originally meant for the Hopi community, they make good decor for anyone. They make an office, car or house have a unique style.


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