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By: Jesse Walter Fewkes
Amid the austere beauty of the Painted Desert in Arizona, the Hopi Indians developed a rich culture and created elaborate, colorful and exciting artifacts known as katcinas--masked symbolic representations of gods and departed clan-ancestors.
Hopi Katcinas is a fascinating ethnological study made by the U.S. Government at the turn of the century exploring the use of katcinas in Pueblo Indian society. 260 individual katcina figures on 62 black-and-white plates are reproduced here from original paintings made by native artists. Made to illustrate Hopi god symbols, they demonstrate a sophisticated and highly developed artistic ability.
Jesse Walter Fewkes supplies an illuminating text, examining the Hopi calendar, festivals and ceremonies, while detailed descriptions of the pictures shed light on how Hopi artists used objective forms to represent spirits. The remarkable dolls and masks allow us a glimpse of how intricately Hopi religion was woven into the tribe's social fabric.
Anthropologists, sociologists, historians, teachers and anyone interested in American Indians will find Hopi Katcinas an indispensable reference and a valuable study of disappearing culture that contributed significantly to America's heritage.
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