Hehey’a Amatuqa Kachina


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This young carver has made quite a splash already, with fellowships, and prizes in the most prestigious Native art shows.

He likes to put together old-style kachinas, where the naturalism is minimal, and the parapharnelia is both painted and applied.

This unusual figure is Heheya Amatuqa, seen on Second Mesa of the Hopi villages.

Heheya is a rain-bringing kachina, and guards the other dancers during the Powamu ceremonies in February, which prepare for the coming planting season.

Curiously, they talk in opposites: e.g., if the dance is good, Heheya says it is bad; hot means cold, etc.

In legend, Heheyas were sent to assist the Zuni in growing their corn.

When the crops were successful, all the Heheyas returned to Hopi, except one.

This lone Heheya had gotten lost in a cave, and could not find his way out.

The jagged lines on his cheeks, represent tears running down his face; the unhappy expression is because he could not get home.

The ear of corn hanging from his headdress, and the chiles on his head, represent the crops he helped to grow.

Ready to hang, as in Hopi households, he is dramatic and arresting, but richly earthy in coloration, with wonderful graphics and textures.


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