Salakmana (Shalako maiden)

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General Description

For the Hopi, the word kachina (katsina) refers to three distinct but related entities: the invisible spirits who are an essential part of Hopi life, the personification of those spirits in ceremonial dances, and the carved and decorated dolls that the kachinas give to infants and women. Kachinas serve as intermediaries between the supernatural and human realms. They are generally bringers of clouds, rain, and all good things.

Kachinas (katsinam) present themselves in our world for the annual period falling just after the winter solstice and concluding after the summer solstice. For the remainder of the year, these ancestral spirits occupy an underworld accessed through the sipapu, or vertical entranceway.

This large kachina (katsina) doll depicts Salakmana, or Shalako Maiden. The representation of Salakmana is identifiable by the terraced symbols of clouds and lightning in her headdress, which connect her with rains and abundance. A corn cob across her forehead refers to productive crops and harvests. On this representation, Salakmana wears a typical dress with belt and shoulder mantle, as well as a long necklace with three pendants.

Adapted from

  • Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, Hopi Visions: Journey of the Human Spirit, Gallery text [Kachina (katsina)], 2018.
  • Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, Hopi Visions: Journey of the Human Spirit, Label text, 2018.