Crow Mother Kachina


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Crow Mother is called the Mother of all kachinas, by most Hopi. She (actually danced by a he, in the ceremony) appears in the Powamu ceremony, marking the start of the planting season, a very important rite. Crow Mother is usually portrayed with a basket of corn etc., but this artist has chosen an earlier role: at the start of Powamu, the kachina supervises the initiation of children into the kachina culture, and carries a bundle of leaves. Here, it looks like feathers.

This is an excellent carving of a Crow Mother who is magisterial and imposing, rather than nurturing and maternal. Every one of the many details is finely carved: the ropy headdress with crow feathers, the fur ruff, the turquoise and clamshell necklace, the turquoise rings on the hands, the folds of the heavy blanket, the dress and sash, and the wooden, decorated tray in one hand. The fingers of both hands are nicely proportioned, as well. Appropriate to the season and the ceremony, her blanket is decorated with flowers, green color and stepped rain designs, symbolizing hope for a good growing season. The artist has suggested the arms under the blanket in a near-realistic way, as well as the folds in the black manta (dress) On the base, we see painted rain designs, realistic butterflies and dragonflies, and angular spirals that evoke water and rainclouds.

These all refer to the propagation of healthy crops and a bountiful harvest, which is the purpose of the Crow Mother to ensure. This version of Crow Mother emphasizes her power and rigor, rather than her softer, more feminine aspect. There is an almost severe feeling in the perfectly upright posture and the arms closed across the front of the figure. With a wealth of detail, carved and painted, this is a marvelously individual, yet authentic, portrayal of this major kachina.

Cottonwood, Pigment

Width: 2 5/8″ Height: 9 7/8″ Depth: 2 1/4″