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Suggestions for Collectors

This page contains some suggestions for collectors on various subjects, such as different types of Native American art, as well as places of Indian Nations well worth visiting when travelling in the US.


Suggestions for Collections of Native American Art

cecil picKachina Dolls

Kachinas are certainly amazing creatures. They are an important part of the spiritual lives of the Hopi, Zuni and Apache nations. The best known Kachina carvers can be found amongst the Hopi, there they also hold the oldest tradition. Since Kachina dolls were discovered as a popular object for collectors worldwide, the number of Hopi carvers has increased significantly. As a result many very spectacular dolls were created within the previous decades. In former times simple tools were used to make very coarse outlines as bodies, which then were decorated with bird feathers, animal hide and fur. Today astonishingly delicate pieces of art are being created, which often are carved, including all decorative elements, like clothing, jewelry and much more, out of one single piece of cottonwood.

As divers as todays types, forms and poses of Kachina dolls are, so is their quality. As a collector, you should pay attention to size, natural proportions, level of detail and cleanliness of the carving. This inevitably leads to significant differences in price. Older and less detailed Kachina dolls can be found at cost of a few hundred Euros. On the other hand large and top quality dolls, made by one of the best known Hopi carvers can cost several thousand Euros, some of them even reaching 5-digit price tags. The picture shows well known Hopi carver Cecil Calnimptewa with a Situlili (i.e. rattlesnake) Kachina doll.

In addition to the dolls for the collector's market one can sometimes find old dolls that were intended for spiritual use and the education of children in a Hopi family, the "real" Kachina doll. However, these sometimes fairly nondescript looking dolls are well sought after by collectors for their authenticity, and therefore are generally quite pricy. One of these Kachina dolls is also shown on this website.

Please be careful with offers on Ebay!

There is a large number of cheap dolls made by the Navajo nation that are being offered as authentic Hopi kachina dolls. I, personally, don't even consider those dolls Kachina dolls. They are mostly cheap items being produced in large quantities, using leather, feathers, sea shells, glas beads and other materials for decoration. You can find them typically in roadside booths along the roads of the deserts in Arizona, Utah, and Colorado, as well as on the Navajo reservation.

Hopi Kachina doll for the Collector's market Gallery pic Gallery pic A "real" Hopi Kachina doll

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