About the Artist
Loretta Multine is half Hopi Tobacco Clan and half Navajo Tachinii, "Red Strike in Water" and born for the Honeycomb Clan. She learned kachina carving in 1983 from her husband, who learned the craft from his grandfather. Loretta has been carving kachinas for over 25 years. She uses the root of the cottonwood tree for her creations.
A kachina has three aspects. The supernatural being as it exists in the minds of the Hopis; the masked impersonator of the supernatural spirit; and the dolls that are made in the likeness of the masked impersonator of the supernatural spirit.
Kachinas represent the forces of nature, human, animal, plant, and act as intermediaries between the world of humans and the gods. Kachinas play an important part in the seasonal ceremonies of the Hopi. They represent generations of traditions that have been passed on and are the subject of a number of books. The simplified descriptions of the individual kachina dolls here is meant only as an introduction.
Small kachinas (dolls) are given to children to introduce the child to what each of the kachinas look like.
Traditionally, kachina dolls are created by Hopi or Zuni artists.
Antelope - The antelope is believed to bring rain and make the grass grow so that there will be plenty of feed for wild game.
Badger - Animals are advisers; the badger is a curing kachina with a connection to roots and herbs and an ability to heal the sick with prayers.
Butterfly - Not actually a kachina but a maiden who is dressed like a butterfly to participate in social (not ceremonial) dances, symbolizing the coming of spring, when butterflies migrate onto the corn fields and there is the gathering of rain clouds.
Cloud - Cloud appears in Mixed Kachina Dance and is said to bring summer rains.
Crazy Rattle - AKA Crazy Rattle Runner, this kachina uses yucca to swat runners who lose a race. Those who win get piki bread.
Eagle (Kwahu or Kwa Kachina) dances to imitate the eagles in appearance and movement as a prayer for more eagles. Eagles are treasured guests and are given gifts.
Hemis - Used in the Niman Kachina Dance, Hemis is also often referred to as the Niman Kachina. The Niman Kachina dance takes place in July, the time of ripened corn.
Kokopelli - A flute player with a hump back which some say represents his backpack full of gifts to distribute. He is the kachina or happiness and joy; his flute playing brings rain and draws women, so the kokopelli is regarded as a "baby maker", a symbol of fertility.
Longbill - Longbill appears during the Bean Dance Ceremonies and sometimes stands guard on the kiva when secret ceremonies are taking place.
Morning Singer - Also known as Early Morning Kachina and Talavai, Morning Singer appears on rooftops in the early morning and sings happy, sad or critical songs.
Racer Snake will be in one place one second and in another place a fraction of a second later, much like the slender racer snake that lives in the desert.
Sun God travels the sky every day, ending his trip in the kiva of the Woman of Hard Substances in the Pacific Ocean. Young, handsome, gentle, kind and helpful, he never mingles with people.
White Bear - Appears in mixed dances, a powerful and healing kachina.