The Great Tradition of Hopi Katsina Carvers
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By Barry Walsh
Hopi Katsina carvings have long fascinated people with their spiritual meaning, colorful artistry, and connection to Hopi Indian culture. This book presents the evolution of katsinam from 1880 to now by examining the life stories and works of the carvers. We begin with anonymous work from the 1880s. By the 1920s and 30s, certain artists, such as Wilson Tawaquaptewa and Otto Pentewa, had developed such distinctive styles that their work became easily identifiable. In the 1940s, Jimmie Kewanwytewa began signing his work, which set a precedent most others have since followed. The katsina carving tradition is very much alive, and we look at some of the finest artists creating today. Some work in a very time-honored traditional style; others are innovators, moving in strikingly new directions. All of these katsina artists shared their autobiographies with Barry Walsh and had full control over what was published.