Eagle Dancer Katsina Carving
History of Katsinas
Katsina Carvings also known as Kachina Dolls are gifts given in hope of future abundance and health, as well as tools for education.
Katsinas are traditionally carved from the roots of cottonwood trees which once were abundant on and near the Hopi lands. The Hopi word for cottonwood root is paako, which means water wood, and the cotton-wood root’s ability to seek and find abundant water, mirrors the ability of the katsinam to do the same for the Hopi people.
For the Hopi, Katsinas are the bridge the spiritual world and mortals. Each year Katsinas come, they walk upon the earth and they dance to bring life and renewal. When the Katsina return to the spirit world at the end of the planting, they return with prayers of the Hopi to continue on this earth for another round in the circle of life.
There are more than 250 different Katsinas, each with its own separate attributes, representing everything from animals to abstract concepts. The Hopi carvers use a single piece of cottonwood root.