February 2, 2018
Lesson 201: Kachinas. The first person we meet when we walk into Woodcarvers is Jim. We smile appreciatively at his completed corn maiden kachina. “The face is wrong; I have to sand it down, and repaint it,” he tells us. “What do you mean when you say it is wrong?,” we query. It looked good to us. “She has a mouth, and kachinas need to have a mask,” he replies. This is what he is says as he shows us David's corn maiden kachina which does have a mask. It just so happens that Manny is working on a clothespin sun kachina. He made this kachina from a clothespin, beverage stirrer sticks, a couple wooden discs from Hobby Lobby, a piece of leather, and small dowels. Wonder—does his kachina have a mask? It looks like it has a mouth. “No, he tells us; that is not a mouth; it is a nose.”
Insert from Wikipedia:
Many Pueblo Indians, particularly the Hopi and Zuni, have ceremonies in which masked men, called kachinas, play an important role. Masked members of the tribe dress up as kachinas for religious ceremonies that take place many times throughout the year. These ceremonies are social occasions for the village, where friends and relatives are able to come from neighboring towns to see the "dance" and partake in the feasts that are always prepared. When a Hopi man places a mask upon his head and wears the appropriate costume and body paint, he believes that he has lost his personal identity and has received the spirit of the kachina he is supposed to represent. Besides the male kachinas are many female kachinas called kachin-manas, but women never take the part of male and female kachinas.
For more on the legend of the corn maiden kachina:
Lou and Bonnie Janelle (LBJ) are career professionals who are currently pursuing life-long interests in photography and digital imaging techniques, respectively.