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Hopi Katsina Dolls: Enduring Meaning and Stylistic Change

Until 9 March 2019
  • Gallery open during museum hours, 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday

Katsina dolls are carved representations of Hopi ancestor spirits called Katsinam. Traditionally, they are presented to children as gifts and, to girls, as a means to model the Hopi way. Although the profound meaning of the katsina doll remains constant among the Hopi, carvers have periodically introduced new ways to depict katsinam, especially for the Indian art market. No one style has disappeared over time, however, there has long been a trend toward increasingly detailed and lifelike dolls and, recently, a resurgence of simpler, more "traditional" forms. This exhibit will showcase 70 katsina dolls from ASM's permanent collections, illustrating the arc of stylistic change from 1890 to the present.