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A painted katsina figure with case mask, tableta, articulated arms and cloth kilt | Donald Ellis Gallery

Hemushikwe Katsina

New Mexico

ca. 1920

cottonwood, paint, cotton cloth, paperboard, cotton string, vegetal fibers

height: 17 ⅞"

Inventory # S4289-23

Please contact the gallery for more information.


Brooklyn Museum, Cat. No. 07.467.8427 – See: Brooklyn Museum Online Archive  

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

Hemushikwe’s appearance varies, but its distinctly decorated casemask surmounted by an elaborate tableta always contains symbols relating to the sky, clouds and rain. In the present example, phallic motifs painted on the mask suggest fertility and conception. The front of the tableta is painted with a rainbow figure flanked by celestial motifs, while the back contains a crescent moon and stars. The three lobes of the tableta likely symbolize clouds. By contrast, Hemushikwe’s body tends to display earth elements. The present doll is wearing a necklace of spruce branches, painted paperboard moccasins and armbands. As is typical for Zuni dolls, the figure features articulated arms fixed with nails and is wearing an appliqué cloth kilt and sash in which further spruce branches are tucked.