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A board-like wooden katsina doll with minimal painting and tableta | Donald Ellis Gallery
Rear view of a small carved and painted katsina doll with feather attachment | Donald Ellis Gallery

Shalako Mana Katsina


ca. 1900

cottonwood, paint

height: 6 ½"
width: 4 ¾"

Inventory # S4409

Please contact the gallery for more information.


The Ben-Zion Collection
Private collection, New Mexico

Distinguishing early katsina dolls can be a difficult endeavour. While some of the verbal metaphors cited in katsina song are of great historic continuity, the elaborately painted symbolism on carved representations is a fairly recent innovation. In the early 19th century, katsinam still appeared as flat, board-like figures, their faces minimally painted with a limited range of colours. The particular style of the tableta and dress as well as the hatched designs painted on both cheeks all indicate that the present work represents Shalako Mana, the female companion of Salako Taka. Carved and painted in an early style dating to the late 19th century, such works were commonly placed on walls or hung under the roof of the house in order to familiarise children with the katsinam and their songs and dances.