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Vintage Crow Mother Plaque


Item Number: DR 415
Tribal Affiliation: Hopi
Artist: Unknown
Medium: Galetta Grass and yucca with natural dyes
Age: Circa 1910-1920
Dimensions: 15″ diameter


SKU: DR 415 Categories: , ,


This polychrome Hopi plaque depicting full-figured Katsina Crow Mother is an old Second Mesa piece. This was a common design on early basket plaques, because she is always seen carrying a plaque with corn meal, bean sprouts, etc. The natural colors on the coiled plaque are mellowed on the front, but are clear on the back. The colors are a deep red-brown, black, yellow and tan.

The Crow Mother Kachina is a symbolic piece that embodies both spiritual traits and a representation of a position within Hopi culture. Specifically, she is a chief Katsina, a figure of maternal leadership within a tribe, especially to children. In many Hopi legends, she is the mother of all the Katsina.

Crow Mother is believed to be a guiding spirit for many people, and having one in your presence can increase the amount of crow birds in your area, leaving feathers around you to bring good fortune and above all – good health. The Crow Mother’s health comes not just in medicine, but in the purification of conscience and mind. A gifting of a Crow Mother is deep sign of respect and care, and to have one in your presence is believed to bring very good fortune.

Coiled baskets are made at Second Mesa villages–Shungopovi, Shipaulovi and Mishongnovi. They are made from native vegetal fibers, such as yucca and gelatta grass, and vegetal dyes. This older basket is made in the flat round plaque form. There are 15-16 stitches per inch with 2 coils per inch (1/2” per coil). The width of the coils is also indicative of an older basket. The sewing together of the coils always moves in a counter clockwise direction, and all of the stitches are non- interlocking. The design of Crow Mother flows into the outer edges which is usually indicative of a basket from the first period (1881-1930). The Hopi people are internationally acclaimed artists and Second Mesa is well known for its coiled basketry.

Condition: Original condition with some slight color mellowing on one side and with a few stitches missing, which is typical of this age basket.
Provenance: Acquired from my  private family collection; originally purchased from Fenn Gallery in 1982.
Suggested Reading: Indian Baskets of the Southwest by Terry DeWald

Additional information

Weight 15 oz