Sun Kachina Doll Facts

The Hopi celebrate spirits related to almost every aspect of life. The spirits, otherwise known as “kachina“or ”katsinam”, are emulated in special figures or dolls handcrafted by Southwest Native American known as the Hopi Tribe Indians. They are often masked Indian dancers in brilliantly colored costumes. They embody the spiritual and earthly elements of life. In fact, there is a Kachina for every purpose and to date, there have been over 900 Kachina figures created.

As part of the Native American tradition, teaching through storytelling used items like the Kachina as a visual for the elders to share and to impress upon students how powerful these spirits are. Kachina dolls can vary in size anywhere from a few inches to almost two feet tall. They can also range in price depending on the artist and the type of materials used. Authentic Kachinas should be accompanied by the artist’s signature and a certificate if being promoted as a Native American or Hopi collectible.

Representative of the spirit of the Sun, the “Tawa” or Sun Kachina is a striking figure. Also referred to also as the Sun Shield Kachina, Sun Kachina Doll Facts state that he carries a spruce tree in his left hand while he holds a bell in his right. Another version appears as in a Mixed Dance with his left hand wrapped around a flute as told in myth after myth. Tawa proudly wears a magnificent headdress of feathers that encircle his colorfully, round masked face. The mask has a blue bottom half with the top half of the mask is vertically split in orange and yellow halves. The black triangular mouth stands out and these same colors are repeated throughout the figure’s costume. As he dances, his white kilt-like garment accented by a brown sash moves in rhythm. Some items that Tawa holds during his ceremonial dance are the spruce tree, bell or flute as the myths illustrate. He is highly revered according to Sun Kachina Doll Facts because he is attributed with the Earth’s creation. He and Kokyanwuhti, the Earth Goddess created the Earth. Each possessing powers over the realms surrounding the planet Earth. These spiritual entities were powerful representatives of how we, the Earth, the Sun and all other creatures came to be. The Kachina dolls capture the image of these spirits and are treasured by collectors and all those who appreciate Native American craftsmanship and myths.

Leave a Reply