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March 06, 2022 2 min read 1 Comment

If you haven’t caught on to our kachina craze, you haven’t been paying attention. The origins and artistry of these colorful characters are endlessly fascinating and aesthetically appealing, and Cheryl has been collecting these figurines for decades – she has kachinas older than her children!

From standalone kachina dolls to depictions of the spirits in jewelry creations, they evoke a sense of awe and reverence and often represent a meaning, a message, or a source of protection. Kachinas have experienced phases of evolution from two-dimensional representations displayed above the cribs of infants, to tourist trinkets in roadside shops along Route 66, to life-size iterations gracing museums and adorning storefronts in southwestern towns.

While at first glance Kachinas can appear as a confounding combination of whimsical and menacing, with vibrant colors conveying seemingly sinister expressions, the widely held belief among Pueblo peoples is that, as long as kachinas are respected, their presence and powers portend human good. Hopi kachinas appear in a variety of forms, often animals, such as the Bear who represents courage and strength and the Lizard who is said to bring sweethearts together. Some spirits represent admired traits, like intelligence and wisdom, some provide protection and purification, and others serve as good omens and requests to the god for adequate rain and crops. Essentially, the Hopis believe these spirits enable them to live in harmony with nature, ensuring rain, crops, fertility, and good hunting.

“I appreciate the artistry of kachinas as much as what they represent,” Cheryl said. “The hand-carving, the vibrant colors, and the unique ways they’re adorned with yarn or feathers or foxtails. Even representing the same deity, no two kachinas are exactly the same. And I do enjoy their origin stories, their purposes. Even the ‘fierce’ kachinas are a positive presence, I like to have them around.”

And you can bet that as long as there are kachinas to collect, Cheryl will keep shopping and sharing them.

If you’d like to take a deeper dive on kachinas, you can revisit theArtifact Education we introduced alongside the Grand Canyon collection.

1 Response

Carina Spies
Carina Spies

March 07, 2022

This is so new to me, but totally fascinating♥️💙💕

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