Definitions

from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of numerous deified ancestral spirits of the Pueblo peoples, believed to reside in the pueblo for part of each year.
  • n. A masked dancer believed to embody a particular spirit during a religious ceremony.
  • n. A carved doll in the costume of a particular spirit, usually presented as a gift to a child.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A vaguely ancestral anthropomorphic spirit being, associated with clouds and rain or personifying the power in the sun, the earth, or corn (among other things).
  • n. A wooden doll, as might be given to a child, which represents such a being.
  • n. A masked dancer who represents such a being in a ceremonial dance or masked ceremony.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as katcina.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a carved doll wearing the costume of a particular Pueblo spirit; usually presented to a child as a gift
  • n. a deified spirit of the Pueblo people
  • n. a masked dancer during a Pueblo religious ceremony who is thought to embody some particular spirit

Etymologies

Hopi katsina, supernatural being, masked impersonator of a supernatural being.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Hopi qatsina. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The word kachina is a little confusing since it refers to the dolls, which have no power.

    Nightway

  • Phoenix's character chooses to live life in the Nevada desert as a hermit making Navajo kachina dolls that he believes have magical powers (a kachina is a spirit in western Pueblo cosmology and religious practices).

    Marina Cashdan: On the Anniversary of River Phoenix's Death, Artist Slater Bradley and Cinematographer Ed Lachman Revisit his Final, Unfinished Film.

  • "ka", part of the word kachina, the Hopi spirits, of which Masau'u was one.

    Latest Articles

  • In fact, the owner had requested a kachina tiger sculptureā€”something he had never done before.

    The Sacred Promise

  • The house contains the largest collection of Maloof furniture anywhere, as well as the Maloof's collection of pottery, rugs, blankets, art, toys, kachina dolls, masks and contemporary art.

    Jane Chafin: Discovering Sam Maloof

  • My one inspirational object on my desk is probably my kachina doll.

    Inspiration through horology « Write Anything

  • The forms remind me of kachina dolls, the movement of a walking ape, of beings part human, part animal.

    Birdology

  • The primary Homolovi interpretive resources consists of archaeological sites including four major pueblos, numerous smaller structures, and site features ranging in size from one room pit houses or simple artifact scatters to a 1200 room pueblo, and panels of petroglyphs with depictions of kachina and clan symbols.

    Hopi Indian Nation

  • In his masterly reworking of this powerful myth, Hillerman creates a kachina for contemporary times -- a hermit who lives in a cave at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and dispenses diamonds ( '' the symbol of greed, '' according to one wary recipient) that can corrupt anyone who mistakes their cold glitter for true light.

    Skeleton Man: Summary and book reviews of Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman.

  • I close with this kachina, who shows the adaptability of Zuni religion.

    Archive 2005-11-01

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  • spirit of the invisible forces of life (Hopi)

    September 26, 2010