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Kachina Doll Legend

Kachina - pronounced (kuh CHEE' nah). Kachina Dolls are carved wooden figures, originally made from the cottonwood root. Many are still crafted from pine or cottonwood. Kachina Dolls are spiritual messengers thought to bring blessings. The Kachina doll was originally made for religious and educational purposes, helping the children learn about the spirits and messages of the Gods. Kachina's are not considered Gods, but spirit messangers thought to petition the Gods to help in all areas of American Indians way of life. Including bringing rain for agriculture, pray (animals) for food, and peace and prosperity to the tribe. Each Kachina Doll we carry is assembled by hand and hand painted and has slightly different accessories and clothing. There are over 250 Kachina dolls representing spirits of various things encountered in the daily lives of the Indians.

Our Shalako kachina dolls are made from cottonwood root, we purchased a large quantity of them from the American Indian who crafted them, so our price on these dolls is half of what most sell for. Many of the other Kachina dolls we sell are made of various types of wood and initialed by the Navajo who crafted the Kachina doll. This allows us to bring a unique piece of Native American art to the public at affordable prices.

For centuries, different tribes have made Kachina Dolls to use in religious ceremonies. The term "Kachina" refers to a masked and costumed dancer representing various spiritual and natural aspects of life. Kachinas are friends, guardians, or messengers to the Gods. They are believed to have supernatural powers, bestow blessings and nurture life. Kachina dolls carved from the cottonwood root were originally presented to the women and children of the tribe but now are made for others to enjoy. All kachina impersonations are performed by males, including the figures representing female Kachinas.

Kachinas have become a part of many cultures and religions. A kachina is simply a spirit that represents animals, characterizations of people, crops, sun, earth, stars and the moon. For the Navajo People, kachina dolls mean more than just representations; they are a way of life, Navajo Tribes have adopted the tradition of crafting and using kachina dolls as their own. Navajo kachina dolls have become as much of a collectible as the fine jewelry, rugs, pottery and the countless other crafts which the Navajo make. The Navajo People are well-known for their outstanding artistic talents, which seem to be present throughout a large number of Navajo families.

The Navajo kachina doll derives from Hopi and Zuni kachinas and being that all of these reservations are very close to one another, especially the Hopi and Navajo which are side by side, it seems that each Tribe has (in some way) adopted each other's traditions whether it be kachina dolls, weavings, pottery, or jewelry. We hope to inform collectors about Navajo kachina dolls, and explain why they are so important to the Navajo People, not only as income for their family, but we know that the artists who make these wonderful dolls hold a great deal of respect for the kachina and what each doll represents.

Many dolls which look identical may have a different name. And many of the dolls that look entirely different may have the same name. This all depends on the person who created the individual doll. Each Kachina Doll is initialled by the artist who created it. Each Kachina Doll is assembled by hand and is hand painted, and has different accessories and clothing, and there may be a slight variation between the dolls pictured and those received when ordering.


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Kachina Doll Legend / Information