Much has been written about the popular kachina dolls carved by the Hopi Indians of northern Arizona, but little has been revealed about the artistry behind them. Now Helga Teiwes describes the development of this art form from early traditional styles to the action-style kachina dolls made popular in galleries throughout the world, and on to the kachina sculptures that have evolved in the last half of the 1980s.
Teiwes explains the role of the Katsina spirit in Hopi religion and that of the kachina doll—the carved representation of a Katsina—in the ritual and economic life of the Hopis. In tracing the history of the kachina doll in Hopi culture, she shows how these wooden figures have changed since carvers came to be influenced by their marketability among Anglos and how their carving has been characterized by increasingly refined techniques. Unique to this book are Teiwes's description of the most recent trends in kachina doll carving and her profiles of twenty-seven modern carvers, including such nationally known artists as Alvin James Makya and Cecil Calnimptewa. Enhancing the text are more than one hundred photographs, including twenty-five breathtaking color plates that bring to life the latest examples of this popular art form.