Second Mesa Local Custom Tips by madamx
Second Mesa Local Customs: 2 reviews and 2 photos
Corn Maiden Kachina
This is my Kachina doll, which I purchased from a female carver in Walpi. The Hopi pronounce Kachina as KAT-seena. Kachinas can take the form of carved dolls or dancers and represent to the Hopi the spirits of plants, animals, ancestors, or sacred places. There are about 500 Kachina spirits, and the Hopi believe that some reside in the San Francisco Peaks, which are near Flagstaff.
The dolls themselves are traditionally used to introduce children to the Kachina spirits, but now are collected be many people for their artistry and beauty. This doll here is fairly simple, and they can range from this form to very detailed carvings that cost $5,000.
The Kachina ceremonies consist of men and women dressed in elaborate costumes such as the one shown here, and are used to bring rain for the corn and to ensure health, happiness, long life, and harmony with the universe. Most of these dances are closed to the general public.
This Kachina was carved by a female; Kachinas were traditionally carved by males, so to get a Kachina doll from a female carver is pretty special. This particular Kachina doll is a Corn Maiden, used to purify women before grinding corn, and she is about 8" tall. Her hair is in the style of "squash blossoms" which were traditionally worn by the old Hopi, and she is wearing a bridal cape as well. The feathers below her mouth are parrot feathers.
This is the traditional bread of the Hopi, made of blue corn. A paper-thin layer of batter is spread on a grill, then pulled off and rolled. The consistency is like parchment paper. It is very dry and tastes like a papery corn chip, and I found it pretty unappetizing. If you want an example to compare it to, biting into it is like having a communion wafer stuck on your tongue.
If you are curious to try it, they sell it for $1.00 US at the Hopi Museum, or you can purchase it at the Hopi Cultural Center Restaurant.
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