Roadside America – World’s Tallest Kachina Doll

By | January 26, 2023
Kachina Doll

An impressive World’s Tallest 39′ Kachina Doll stands tall in the neighborhood of Tonto Hills, near Cave Creek, Arizona. It is definitely an interesting roadside stop near Cave Creek, Arizona to pause & appreciate Southwestern culture & history. They were originally designed to teach young members of the Hopi tribe about spirit beings known as Kachinas, which control the rain, the crops, and countless other things.

Hopi katsina figures also known as kachina dolls, are figures carved, typically from cottonwood root, by Native American Hopi people to instruct young girls and new brides about katsinas or katsinam, 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.

It’s important to note that Kachinas, and the dolls which were made to symbolize them, were not intended to be worshipped- only respected. 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.

Edward Kennard, co-author of Hopi Kachinas, says concerning the purpose of the kachina figure, “Essentially it is a means of education; it is a gift at dance-time; it is a decorative article for the home, but above all it is a constant reminder of the Kachinas.

Now, it has lost most of the symbolic power the Hopis originally intended for it and is a common site at trading posts, gift shops, and other Southwestern-themed commercial enterprises. Donations are accepted to maintain the kachina doll and help fund the advance training for fire fighters.

Happy Traveling & Exploring! 😊