Old Style Hopi Carved Maasaw and Maasaw Mana Traditional Death Katsina Dolls by Kory Jean
Maasaw, also written as Masauwu or Masau, is known as the Hopi Death Katsina. He is responsible for the Earth's surface, fire, and the underworld. Death was an important part of hunting and war, and hunters, warriors and shamen called upon him for assistance. Hunters sought food, and called upon Maasaw to guide the spirit of the animal into the underworld where it could enter the cycle of rebirth. Warriors sought the death of their enemy or power for a battle. Shamen sought to heal the sick, since Maasaw had power over death. Maasaw Mana is the maiden who accompanies Maasaw. She appears at Angk’wa, Summer Day Dances and after Niman. She represents protection and guidance, rain and bountiful harvest. When she appears at the dance with Maasaw it is to keep in check his omniscient power. This is one of the very few Katsinam personated by a woman (most are men dressed as women).