Hopi kachina figures also known as kachina dolls are figures carved, typically from cottonwood root, by Hopi people to instruct young girls and new brides about katsinas, the immortal beings that bring rain, control other aspects of the natural world and society, and act as messengers between humans and the spirit world.
Hopi people live primarily on three mesas in Northeastern Arizona, each year, throughout the period from winter soltice to mid-July, these spirits, in the form of katsinas, come down to the villages to dance and sing, to bring rain for the upcoming harvest, and to give gifts to the children.
The katsinas are known to be the spirits of deities, natural elements or animals, or the deceased ancestors of the Hopi. Prior to each katsina ceremony, the men of the village will spend days studiously making figures in the likeness of the katsinam represented in that particular ceremony. The figures are then passed on to the daughters of the village by the Giver Kachina during the ceremony. Following the ceremony, the figures are hung on the walls of the pueblo and are meant to be studied in order to learn the characteristics of that certain Kachina.