Common Hopi Kachinas and their Meanings

SHOP for Hopi Kachinas

Central to Hopi religion, Kachinas are supernatural beings believed to live on the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona. Hopi men embody the Kachina spirits during ceremonies that take place between Winter Solstice and mid-July. The Hopis believe these spirits enable them to live in harmony with nature, ensuring rain, crops, fertility, and good hunting. The Hopi men impersonate these kachinas by wearing masks and dancing in the plazas of the villages. The dolls, which are carved replicas of the dancers, are given to the children so that they may learn about their people's traditions. The art of carving kachina dolls has evolved from the old-style blocklike figures into today's highly detailed, all-wood dolls with realistic form and action. Traditional, or Old-Style, Kachina Dolls were simple carvings given to Hopi children to teach them about their culture and the Kachinas that would be visiting during the upcoming ceremony. Over time, Kachina Dolls became more and more sophisticated and included bases for the dolls to stand on and showing the Kachina in “action”- such as dancing or hunting. All Kachina Dolls are carved out of the root of the Cottonwood tree. The Cottonwood tree’s vigorous roots travel far and deep in search of water. There is spiritual importance in this fact, as the Hopis are dry farmers in an arid part of Arizona and the search for water is of critical importance to their culture.

Here are some common Kachinas and a brief summary of their meaning and significance.

  • Bear (Honan) - Courage and strength. Represents great power to cure the sick.
  • Eagle (Kwahu) - Rules the sky. Represents strength and great power.
  • Wolf (Kweo) - Great hunter. Teacher and pathfinder.
  • Ogre - Disciplinarian of the children. Represented as black or white.
  • Owl (Mongwa) - Intelligence and wisdom. Keeps rodents in check.
  • Deer (Sowi-ingwu) - Dances to increase his kind, therefore ensuring abundance.
  • Ram - Dances to increase his kind, and has power over the rain.
  • Snow (Navak'china) - Brings snow and cold weather essential for the growth of crops.
  • Badger (Hon) - Cures the sick. Prayers for the growth of healing herbs are given to him.
  • Lizard (Monongya) - Fighting kachina. Brings sweethearts together.
  • Crow Mother (Angwusnasomtaka) - Guardian of children.
  • Corn Maiden (Kachin Mana) - Purifies women who grind the corn for ceremonies.
  • Hummingbird (Tocha) - Appears as a runner. He is a brilliant impersonator.
  • Morning Singer (Talavai) - Appears on rooftops and sings to waken the village.
  • Buffalo Warrior - Assures there will be adequate food for winter.
  • Wolf Warrior - Assures there will be adequate food for winter.
  • Buffalo - Most powerful kachina. Kills evil thoughts and is a spiritual protector.
  • Hototo - Preparer of food. Most respected war kachina.
  • Antelope - Dances to increase his kind. Brings rain.
  • Shalako (Rain) - Most magnificant. Towers seven feet high. Brings rain.
  • Mudhead - Powerful kachina who acts as a clown and enforcer.
  • Butterfly - Lands on flowers, used by the medicine man.
  • Kokopelli - Hunched back flute player. Brings rain and fertility.
  • Sunface (Dawa) - Warmth and shelter for the elderly, a bright future for the young.
  • Broadface (Whipper) - Carries yucca whips to enforce community cleansing.
  • Left Hand - Reverse kachina, does everything in the opposite.
  • Chasing Star - Represents planets and stars. Returns fallen stars to the sky.
  • Snake Dancer - Sends messages with the snake to ask for rain.
  • Hilili - Guard kachina known for the call he makes.
  • Long Horned - Brings long life.
  • Long Hair - Brings rain. Always singing. Has a long beard that represents rain.
  • Fancy Dancer - Fan passes prayers to the heavens.
  • Traditional Dancer - Entertainer. Passes along prayers.
  • Eototo - Kachina Chief. Controls the seasons. Knows all ceremonies.
  • Aholi - Lieutenant to the Eototo. Accompanies the Eototo to bring rain.
  • Squash - Important as a plant. Signifies food source.
  • Mouse - Hero of Second Mesa. Rid village of a pesky chickenhawk.
  • Clown (Koshari) - Powerful enforcer, entertains crowds.

 

SHOP for Hopi Kachinas





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Sizing

Although the best way to test the size and fit of a piece of jewelry is to try it on in the store, we know that is not always an option. In an effort to help you choose the piece that is right for you, we have included measurements of each piece on the website. Here is how our measurements are defined:

Bracelets

Finding the right size bracelet for your wrist has always been a tricky endeavor, since, unlike rings, there isn't a standardized, universal sizing chart for wrist size. One reason for this is that we all have different shaped wrists, some of us have round wrists, while others have more oval. Bracelets, like wrists, also have different shapes.

So, while bracelet sizing will never be an exact science, we've done what we can to ensure the greatest chance of a comfortable fit. The best thing you can do if you don't know your wrist size is to take a soft measuring tape and loosely measure the circumference of your wrist at the point you plan on wearing it. Try not to have the measuring tape dig into your skin, as this will result in a smaller than ideal size. Once you have the circumference of your wrist, compare it to the chart below to find the correct bracelet size. If your wrist measures in-between two sizes, we recommend rounding up to the larger size. (ie: if your wrist measures 6.375"- you should shop for size "Medium" bracelets.)

 Wrist Circumference

Corresponding Bracelet Size

5.5"

XX-Small

5.75"

Extra-Small

6"

Small

6.25"

Small-Medium

6.5"

Medium

6.75" - 7"

Medium-Large

7.25"

Large

7.5"

Extra-Large

7.75"

XX-Large

8"

XXX-Large

 

You may want to drill down further on the bracelet sizing to make sure the cuff is a comfortable fit. You will notice on our website that we generally list four measurements for bracelets:

Keep in mind that certain bracelets can be adjusted slightly to fit your wrist, but those with inlay or stones all the way around will be damaged if bent. In any case, it is always best to check with with us to see if a particular bracelet is adjustable.

Lastly, have no fear! If you order a bracelet that doesn't fit, send it back for one that does! We want this to be a positive experience, you should never wear something that isn't 100% comfortable. More on our return policy here.

Buckles

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Concha Belts

We try to include the height and width for the conchas, as well as the buckle (if different), and the width of the belt they are on. The length of the concha belts can be less important, because these belts are often made quite long to accommodate many waist sizes, and then can be shortened to fit the wearer. If you are concerned whether or not a belt will fit you, just ask. We are happy to size most of our concha belts before shipping.