Two Kachinas

Passing my early childhood in a part of the Midwestern United States with a prominent Native American minority I developed a great curiosity about the culture of the “Indians” as they were then universally named. We often went to pow-wows and I’ve never forgotten a school trip to the local Indian Junior College that had a fine museum of Native American arts and crafts. The college gave each visiting child a large and beautiful book about the native peoples, a wonderful and very generous gift. I also acquired two artefacts of my own: a local flint arrowhead and from much further afield a battered and rather melancholy kachina doll. I don’t remember how the latter came into my possession but it sparked a deep fascination with these extraordinary objects, so various and strange. Kachinas are now highly collectable but I find many modern examples rather garish and over-realistic in form, though they are often beautifully crafted. Older kachinas however still convey the mythical mystery of their origins in the indigenous cults of the Southwestern tribes. I was reminded of all this by a post at the always excellent Art Blart blog.


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