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A katsina doll with a tableta painted with phallic motifs and adorned with feathers | Donald Ellis Gallery

Hemis Katsina


ca. 1920

cottonwood, paint, feathers, grass

height: 19 ⅝"

Inventory # S4289-33

Please contact the gallery for more information.


Haberland, Wolfgang. Kachina-Figuren der Pueblo-Indianer Nordamerikas aus der Studiensammlung Horst Antes. Karlsruhe: Badisches Landesmuseum, 1980, pls. 321, 322, 324 and 325

A number of katsinam are Hopi interpretations of neighbouring peoples and their respective spirit beings. Hemis derives its name from Jemez, a pueblo on the Rio Grande. Bearing presents for the entire community, the katsina plays an important role during Niman, the return ceremony marking the end of the katsinam’s visit to Hopi villages. Hemis is chiefly responsible for gifting children with tithu, small dolls used to familiarise the uninitiated with the katsinam’s appearances. Known as katsina dolls to non-Indigenous collectors, many of the carved and painted design elements reference sky elements or particular water formations. In the case of Hemis, the characteristic case mask is surmounted by an elaborate tableta shaped like a stepped unit of clouds. In Hopi cosmology, weather, conception, soil fertility, birth and plant life are closely related.