Katchina Sio Salako

19th century



Kachinas play a central role in the Hopi, Zuni, and other Pueblo cultures in the Southwest of the USA. Kachinas are spirit beings that embody the life-renewing powers of earth and ancestors. The term additionally designates the masked dancers who represent these beings in religious ceremonies. In the past, kachinas were also portrayed for children in the form of “dolls”. These served to transmit knowledge about the individual kachina. Today such figures are made primarily to be sold. This figure from the 19th century represents Sio Salako, who can be recognized by his green box-shaped mask with horns and black horizontal stripes. He is considered a reliable bringer of rain and appears only in times of extreme drought. The noted cultural theorist Aby Warburg consigned the figure to the museum in 1902. During his journey to the USA in 1895/96, Warburg had compiled an extensive collection of artefacts of the Pueblo cultures. He was especially interested in the relationship between religious concepts and symbolic art.

Show lessRead more
  • Title: Katchina Sio Salako
  • Date Created: 19th century
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Publisher: Museum of Ethnology Hamburg
  • Rights: Museum of Ethnology Hamburg | Photo: Brigitte Saal
  • External Link: Homepage Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg
  • Medium: wood (painted), feathers
  • on display: Natives of North America – Following the Trail...
  • Date of Acquisition: 1902
  • Context of Origin: Hopi – Arizona, USA
  • Collection: Coll. Aby Warburg