Hopi Old Style Katsinam
Hopi Old Style Katsina dolls are those carved in the traditional style, often referred to as “Early Traditional Style.” This style dates back to the late 19th and early 20th century and represents the most traditional depiction of the Katsinam before outsiders began to influence the Native American cultures. These early Katsina dolls were highly simplistic in form and were most often flat with few if any three-dimensional elements, though some were more rounded. Each doll was intricately painted with dyes and pigments made from native minerals like iron and magnesium, whatever was readily available in the area local to the Hopi people. Some paints were plant-based, though these colors were not as vibrant and did not stand up over time.
Kachina House features the "New Traditional Style" Katsinam which are an artistic movement firmly rooted in the old ways, though these dolls are by no means simply copies of the Early Traditionals. There are distinct features that set them apart, ranging from the carving, sanding and painting styles to more obvious changes in body proportions, posture, feet and faces. Carvers and collectors alike appreciate this style not only for the step back in time to what Katsinam looked like before any outside influences, but more importantly, the rich Hopi culture that these New Traditional Katsinam represent.
The artists represented here have been drawn to the simple forms and vibrant colors of the old style Katsina dolls and have adapted them using modern techniques. The unique blending of the past and the present offers an interesting perspective on both the new and the old as they allow us to view the culture and traditions of the Hopi ancestors through a modern window.
Our Hopi Old Style Katsinam are carved by hand with the careful eye of a genuine Native Southwestern American Indian artist. Each piece is carved to include the specialized elements of each individual Katsina, just as our full-figure Katsinam capture the unique qualities of each spirit. Many artists have chosen to shift from the strictly traditional carving methods to include detailed hands and feet, while still keeping the overall traditional style. Still carved from the strong but lightweight cottonwood root, the artists may choose to expand their palette with modern paints and painting techniques. However, each color is still carefully chosen to stay true to the representative appearance of the particular Katsina it represents.
Kachina House is happy to be able to offer these beautiful and unique pieces by Native American Hopi artists. As the largest distributor of Native American Indian arts and artifacts in Arizona, we’re confident that you’ll find the perfect piece for your collection. If you have questions, we urge you to call us toll free at 800-304-3290 or drop us an email. We always like to hear from our customers.
Click to read about the Hopi School