This flat brightly painted katsina is known as a “Putstihu taywa’yla” – a katsina figure having a flat body with a three- dimensional face, and is generally meant for toddlers. This katsina is a representation of the Cicada Katsina. He appears in the early spring and is associated with the warming of the earth that brings the arrival of summer, just as the appearance of the actual cicada does. The Mahu Katsina is well represented in dances and ceremonies and, like all insect katsinam, holds an important role among the Hopi spirits. In earlier days, all katsina dolls were colored with natural dyes, which made them non-toxic for a teething baby to handle. The dolls created for the open market, however, sport modern dyes and paints.
Hopi katsina dolls, called tihu in Hopi, are carved representations of the Katsinam, the spirits essences of ancestors, plants, animals, clouds, and, indeed, everything in the Hopi universe. They are carved by initiated men from the root of the cottonwood tree and traditionally given to young girls by the Katsinam at the time of the ceremonial Bean Dance (Powamuya) in February and the Home Dance (Niman) in late July. When katsina dolls are presented, they are given as prayer gifts for the girl to grow, be happy, strong, and healthy; to have a long life, and in turn, have children of her own.
Condition: Excellent- original condition
Provenance: Acquired from a private collector in Texas,