A new exhibition featuring rarely exhibited Kachina figures from the Red Earth Museum permanent collection is currently on display at the downtown Oklahoma City museum. “Kachinas from the Red Earth Collection” continues through September 30.
“A Kachina is a spirit being unique to the cosmology and religious practices of the Pueblo people,” said Christina Naruszewicz, exhibit curator. “There are more than 400 distinct Kachina variations in the Hopi and Pueblo culture, alone.”
For generations Kachina Dolls have educated Native youth about the Kachina powers over the natural world. During the past 35 years, the Red Earth Museum has established a sizeable collection of these beautifully crafted dolls.
The western Pueblo cultures located in the southwestern United States include Hopi, Zuni and Tewa Village (on the Hopi Reservation), Acoma Pueblo and Laguna Pueblo. The Kachina religion has also spread to eastern Pueblos including Laguna and Isleta. The term also refers to the Kachina dancers - masked members of the tribe who dress up as Kachina for religious ceremonies, and Kachina dolls, wooden figures representing Kachina given as gifts to children.
The Red Earth Museum exhibition showcases a variety of Kachina mediums and styles, spanning Native American artisanship from the late 19th century to current day contemporary examples.
There are more than 200 types of Kachina figures, but it is almost impossible to identify every one as each carver has a different interpretation as to the appearance and function of each Kachina. The most popular tend to be the Tasapkachina (Navajo Kachina), Angakchina (Long Hair, Hote, and animal dolls such as Bear, Bird and Mouse.
Red Earth, Inc. is an Allied Arts member agency and is funded in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department, Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and the Chickasaw Nation.
The Red Earth Museum & Gallery is open free to the public Monday through Friday at 6 Santa Fe Plaza next to the historic Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. Visit www.redearth.org or call (405) 427-5228 for additional information. Red Earth, Inc. is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote the rich traditions of American Indian arts and cultures through education, a premier festival, a museum and fine art markets.