Originally, kachinas were carved to educate children. In an oral society, the carved figures, and especially, the masks, of the many kachinas, taught them how to recognize the many different kachinas, and their lore.
Carving these “dolls” was creative, as well as spiritual and practical. Hanging the carvings on the walls of the carver’s adobe house served to decorate, as well as instruct. Children also played with them, reinforcing the information.
Now, carvers often go back to the rudimentary form, when the head and mask was all-important, and the realism of the figure was not.
This engaging kachina is a new carving, in that old style.
Hilili originated in other pueblos, but now dances during the Hopi Powamu ceremony, in the Spring, and others. He started out as a sort of witch, but is now a guard and whipper.
With long tongue, horsehair beard, feathers, a carved corn cob in his hair, and a wildcat hide over his shoulders, he still looks rather fearsome.
This interpretation of Hilili also has huge, spiral eyes. These are symbols of long life, and/or water, which is essential to thriving crops.
Meant to hang on the wall, as of old, this kachina is carved and painted, and also has other materials added.
He is unusual, decorative, and very appealing.