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Traditional Hopi Kachinas: A New Generation of Carvers Paperback – April 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Northland Publishing (April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873587405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873587402
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,225,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Kachina dolls, representing supernatural beings who act as emissaries to the spirits that control the natural forces of the Hopi world, were originally made for children as teaching tools. Today, they are popular items in Southwestern gift shops. As with the Inuit, the Hopi have found carving to be a matter of financial survival as well as an art form. In a readable, breezy style, Day, a second-generation trader to the Hopi, discusses the evolution of carving styles and gives a few rather obvious guidelines about buying them (caveat emptor, trust a trader). He then explores a new trend in carving kachinas through profiles of 19 current carvers who have gone back to the traditional stylesDcompact, symbolic, and totemicDof carving, painting, and ornamenting their dolls. The focus here is on the artists, their lives, and their work, with quotes from each. Day includes a map of Hopiland and a chart of the annual time frame of ceremonial dances but says nothing about the individual dances or the kachinas' symbolic meaning. This leaves the reader wondering what each illustrated doll represents and gives little insight into the whole religious fabric. The helpful appendixes cover museums, shops, and trading posts and also include a glossary and an annotated reading list (where you can find books on those ceremonies). A book for collectors of kachinas and libraries with extended Native American collections.DGay Neale, Meredithville, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Would recommend to other carvers.
peacockpete
Written with sensitivity and humour, Jonathan Day's book imparts the direction and meaning of the kachina, the Hopi culture and the artists behind the work.
Mrs. Jackson
With beautifully laid out color photos of their work.
Marcusp500

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Dari B. Wayne on June 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
Author, Jonathan Day has created a feast for the eyes as well as the mind. Day, a second generation Indian trader, shares his love and respect for the Hopi people while introducing the reader to the traditional Hopi katsina (kachina)through a new generation of carvers. Most people are familiar with the "action" dolls, however, traditional katsinas are usually hung on the wall and have an "antique" look to them. As this is my favorite form of katsina I was immediately drawn to this book. JD shares his experiences with the 19 featured carvers and provides a wonderful insight to what guides them in their carving...many of the stories will touch your heart. An essential book to anyone who collects or has dreamed of collecting Hopi katsina dolls.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Julia Acevedo on March 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book deals with the "new" style of katsina doll carving that is in fact a revival of what is termed "traditional" style, the style found before the advent of "action" katsinas of the 1950's. The author has termed this new/old style "New Traditional", and has devoted this book to the carvers themselves, as well as the dolls they make. These katsinas are identified by their more simplistic style, with emphasis on the faces and body paint and costume, much different than the very elaborately carved and detailed "Modern Contemporary" dolls. Many of the Hopi artists in this book have been carving katsinas for years, but have only recently begun to carve in the old style of their grandfathers. The book describes what the categories of katsinas are, gives a biography of the featured carvers, the locations where their awesome dolls may be purchased, and even has an introduction on how to behave yourself if you are ever privileged enough to visit the Hopi mesas in Arizona (sadly, many of the Hopi ceremonies have been closed to outsiders because of rude, obnoxious behavior of tourists who think that these important religious rites are just shows put on for entertainment). This is a good book for collectors of katsina dolls, and even if this style of katsina carving isn't quite your cup of tea, I recommend this book very highly!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Jackson on July 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
On a recent trip to Arizona -Sedona and Flagstaff, I was lucky to stumble upon a Hopi Marketplace, meet Jonathan Day and a number of the carvers in his book. This book is a wonderful beginning to the understanding the culture of the Hopi and the direction in which the creation of Kachinas is moving--a return to an art form that is based upon the teachings of the Hopi--a truer sense of the meaning of the kachina as a spirit which teaches and guides. Written with sensitivity and humour, Jonathan Day's book imparts the direction and meaning of the kachina, the Hopi culture and the artists behind the work. His commitment to the trust given to him by many of the artists interviewed along with his knowledge of the Hopi culture is invaluable to those of us of wish to understand more with respect and honor. His advice and recommended reading is invaluable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patto TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not about richly detailed contemporary kachinas, but rather about an emerging art form designated "new traditional" kachinas. These old style dolls are being revived and revitalized by a new breed of Hopi artists.

These dolls do not wear fancy costumes or exhibit exotic movements. Their simplicity reflects an earlier style meant to look like a spirit, not a human. They have a spiritual impact not achieved by more realistic carvings. Jonathan Day describes how the carvers make their own pigments from natural materials, use simple hand tools, and gather their own ornamental feathers etc. – just as their ancestors did for hundreds of years.

Merely looking at the plethora of gorgeous color photos of the dolls is an education. The kachinas are labeled by the Hopi name of the spirit and an English translation, if one exists. I found Ogre Woman, Warrior Mudhead and Great Horned Owl particularly fetching.

The profiles of the artists surprised me. I expected dull biographies, but these are real human-interest stories. Day is an excellent storyteller and paints a compelling picture of these carvers who are keeping their artistic traditions alive despite the mechanization of the modern world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William E. Clore on March 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
Jonathan Day's book is excellent. Not only does it showcase some of the most talented artists of Hopi, but it brings light to the new traditional way of carving. Sounds like an oxymoron, however, the traditional styles are beautiful and a more accurate representation of the kachina. I have had the privilege of meeting a few of the artists in the book. The book does a nice job highlighting these wonderful people who are so rich in culture.
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Format: Paperback
The author, Jonathan S. Day has written a great book filled with interesting knowledge and history of the young carvers. With beautifully laid out color photos of their work. The author is a second generation trader and is knowledgeable of Hopi art and tradition. I recently visited The Jonathan S. Day Collection shop in Flagstaff, Arizona. It is filled with Kachinas and other Hopi artifacts for show and purchase similar to the items in the book. I highly recommend this book.
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