Construct a Kachina Mask

Mongwi Kachinum or Chief Kachinas

masau-u-earth-godiThe Mongwi or wuya, chief kachinas are wise and hold very important roles in the Hopi culture. The chief kachinas can only be impersonated by select members of each clan.

Each chief kachina has a specific function and when multiple chief kachinas appear their powers will mesh together for the greatest benefit to the villages.

Kachina types may cross match into one or more group since many kachinas are multi-purpose with numerous responsibilities and roles. Print and trace the designs onto multi-color fun craft foam sheets to create pliable and colorful soft face masks. Use left over trimmings of foam pieces to cut and paste intricate designs and shapes onto the mask.

Mongwi Kachinum or Chief Kachinas

For best results print on heavy duty vellum paper or card stock. All paper mask designs are printable on regular or heavy duty 8 1/2" x 11" paper. Print landscape mode for larger masks, portrait setting for smaller masks.

Angwusnasomtaka Crow-Mother Tumas

angwusnasomtaka-crow-motherThe Angwusnasomtaka, Tumas, Crow Mother or Man with Crow Wings Tied To, is the mother of the Hu or Whipper kachinas. This kachina also belongs in the Chief or Mongwi Kachinum category. Many Hopis believe she is the mother of all Kachinas. She appears on all three mesas during the Powamu or Bean Dance. On the third mesa she is called Angwushahai-i, or Crow Bride where she dresses entirely in white. She also talks and sings on the third mesa.

Her responsibility is to give protection and guidance to children while they are at play and during ritual initiations. During initiation, she brings a bunch of Narrowleaf Yucca plant blades, (thin yucca plant leaves) in to the kiva and hands the yucca blades to the Hu Kachinas who strike the children several times with the leaves.

Yucca plants are very important to the Native Americans of Northern Arizona and Utah. They use virtually all of the Yucca plant in various ways including using the narrowleaf yucca's sword-like leaves to make baskets and sandals.

Palakwai Red-tailed Hawk

palakwai red tailed hawk1200The Palakwayi (Palkwayo) Red-Tailed Hawk is a Chief Kachina, a warrior and a hunter who makes his appearances in the Pachavu ceremony on second and Third Mesas.

This kachina's most distinctive attribute is a bird's nest resting upon his head.

Mastop or Death Fly Soyal Winter Solstice

chakwaina grandmother1200The Mastop or Death Fly kachina only appears on the third mesa, in pairs, the day before the end of the Soyal Ceremony. The Mastop represents a prayer to ensure fertility for humankind, so he is encouraged to tease girls and women as an important part of fertility rituals.

He is a Soyal (Winter Solstice) Katsina and counterpart to Second Mesa's Sivaktsina kachina.

The mask is black with white dots on each cheek. These dots represent the star constellations Pleiades (the Seven Sisters) on the right side and on the left side is the Big Dipper which contains Canis Major the Dog Star.

Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, is the name of a quite visible and striking open cluster of stars in the Taurus constellation.

Masau'u or Earth God

masau-u-earth-godMasau'u or Earth God Kachina represents the spirit of the earth god in control of the surface and the mysterious Underworld. His mask is skull-like with colored spots which represent clouds.

He doesn't live in the mountains with the other kachinas and can come and go to the villages at any time of the year.

Masau'u is responsible for the passage of the dead into the Underworld and monitoring the movements of other kachinas entering the Underworld or traveling to the surface world.

Because he lives in the Underworld, which is in reverse of the surface world, the Masau'u dancer performs many actions in reverse or backwards. Sometimes two Masau'u will appear as a pair and perform bizarre acts by yelling, beating on structures with switches and dancing around fires.

Koyemsi (Mudhead)

koyemsi-mudheadKoyemsi (Mudhead) is a clown kachina introduced by the Zuni. They are very popular and recognized Katsinas who may function as chiefs during the Kwiyamuya season and as a clown, master of ceremonies or drummer among other roles. Koyemsi kachinas play music and games with the children in the audience.

Folklore tells story of survival between a blind Mudhead kachina who carries a paralyzed Tuhavi. The two cooperate with each other so they can hunt and survive.

Mudhead masks are sack-mask shaped, reddish brown in color with three gourds attached to each ear and on top of his head. He carries a feathered mud rattle.

Aholi Chief Lieutenant

aholi chief lieutenant1200Aholi is the Chief Lieutenant to Eototo Kachina Chief and only appears on the Third Mesa during Powamu, or Bean Planting Festival, to help bring rain to the villages. Aholi is also the wuya (patron saint) of the Pikyas or Young Corn Clan who take care of seed corn.

The Aholi Chief Lieutenant's mask is a high conical shape with tuffs of hair in place of ears. He wears a fox skin collar or ruff. Legend has it that Aholi and Eototo were once traveling companions in a different land and Aholi sacrificed his life so that Eototo could escape to become leader.

Together Aholi and Chief Eototo travel to Hopi villages to deliver prayers and bestow blessings upon each village they visit. Eototo draws cloud symbols on the ground with corn flour so clouds and moisture will be drawn to the pueblo. Aholi marks the spot for rain to come by poking the end of his stick in the cloud drawings.

Sikyahote Yellow Star Katsina

sikyahote-yellow-stariSikyahote Yellow Star Katsina can appear in any of the directional colors, most commonly the colors Sikyahote (Yellow) or Sakwahote (Blue).

Chakwaina Grandmother

chakwaina grandmother1200The Chakwaina kachina, a wuya of his clan is a warrior kachina who has a number of relatives which include the Grandmother, Mana or Mother and Sister as well as the Uncle, a side dancer. This kachina also belongs in the Chief or Mongwi Kachinum category.

The Chakwaina Sho-adta and Chakwaina Mana Kachina is the Grandmother of the Asa Clan. Most kachina impersonators or dancers are men, even when the kachina spirit is female. This kachina appears in January during the Kiva Dances in the Pamuya ceremonies at First Mesa.

Like the He'e'e kachina the Chakwaina represents a warrior spirit who leads a band of other warrior kachinas to help protect the ceremonies.

Eototo Mongwi Kachinum chief

eototo-chiefEototo is considered to be the Mongwi Kachinum chief or father of all kachinas and husband of Hahai-i Wuhti. This spirit controls the four seasons of weather and appears in all of the ceremonies accompanied by Aholi, his chief lieutenant.

Together Aholi and Eototo travel to each Hopi village to deliver prayers and bestow blessings upon each village they visit. Eototo draws cloud symbols on the ground with corn flour so clouds and moisture will be drawn to the pueblo. Aholi marks the spot for rain to come by poking the end of his stick in the cloud drawings and roaring to the clouds above.

Soyal, Return or Solstice

Soyal, Return or Solstice kachina takes part in the Soyal, a winter solstice ritual designed to turn the sun back in its course. He appears only on the first mesa. His appearance signals the beginning of a new kachina ceremonial cycle.

As he tours each village he places pahos (prayer feathers) in each kiva to open the way for other kachinas to leave the spirit world and come to the villages. It is thought that the Soyal katsina taught the Hopi to make pahos.

Hú or Tungwup Whipper

hu-whipper-faceThe Hú or Tungwup Whipper kachinas initiate the children into the Kachina Cult. They travel in pairs and accompany the Angwusnasomtaka (Crow Mother) who keeps the whips to give to the Hú. Other kachinas may whip because they are guards or to cure particular ailments or afflictions, but the Hú kachinas only whip for initiations.

Each one of the initiated children in the kiva receive four swats with a yucca leaf whip. Then the Hú whip each other and finally the Angwusnasomtaka (Crow Mother) to complete the ritual.