Kachina, Kachina or Katsina referred to in the cultures of the Hopi, Zuni and other Pueblo Indians of the southwestern United States three phenomena: the spirit of a natural phenomenon in the form of an animal, a plant, an ancestor etc., the masked dancer who this spirit represents, and the figurative representation of the same. The spelling Katsina comes from the language of the Hopi. The plural Katsinam applies only to the spirits and the dancers, because the plural suffix -m is reserved for living beings. Katsinam act as a mediator of the prayers of the people to the gods for the important in this region rain. For this reason, they are considered higher beings.

Shapes and figures

A role to play, the clowns ( Tsutskut ). They can occur on all occasions and entertained by rustic jokes and criticism of the behavior of individual villagers. The most famous clown is the business acquired by the Zuni " Mud Head " Koyemsi. The carved figure is called Tihu (plural Tithu ). Tithu are mentioned in the literature Kachina Dolls ( Kachina dolls ). They will be distributed to specific events on the children, to make them familiar with the appearance and the essence of Katsinam. The figures are suspended in the house, the simple embodiments be used as a toy. The number of Katsinam and clowns of the Hopi is not exactly specify, because keep disappearing old characters and new ones introduced. Frederick J. Dockstader are in his book The Kachina and the White Man, the number with " just over 400 " at. From some Katsinam there is only the name in the literature.

In the Zuni hot dancers and figure Kokko. From the dancers and characters from the villages further east ( Acoma Pueblo and in the valley of the Rio Grande) is little known because they were heavily exposed to the pressure of the Spanish mission; therefore held and keep their residents in secret from their religious celebrations.


From about 1900 came mainly under the white tourists a great interest in the Kachina figures on, and the dolls were coveted collectors objects. For this reason, many Hopi started the commercial production of the figures in order to secure their livelihood. Even the grandfather and an uncle of the Hopi artist Dan Namingha have become known as carver of Kachina figures.

Today the production is considered to be high form of carving, and the Kachina dolls are traded on the Indian art market at prices between 500 and 10,000 U.S. dollars. The older figures are traded high, especially in France. The highest prices achieved in 1997 and 2006 " Salako Mana " figures, which were auctioned for about 270,000 per U.S. dollar, among others, at Sotheby's in New York City.


The best-known collections of Kachina figures are in the Heard Museum in Phoenix and the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles. Other collections can be found in the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, in the Field Museum in Chicago, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Museum of Anthropology in Columbia (Missouri ). In 1901 was begun in Berlin's Ethnological Museum with the collection of these dolls. Also artists such as Horst Antes, Piero Dorazio, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, André Malraux and Emil Nolde collected and painted kachina figures.