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Exploring Clowns in Hopi Culture Through Kachina Dolls
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Exploring Clowns in Hopi Culture Through Kachina Dolls

Like many cultures the world over, certain symbols and emblems help illustrate their deep beliefs, and perhaps none is as universal as the clown. In the Hopi culture, clowns are often depicted as handmade Kachina dolls, or dolls that are considered sacred and spiritual, as well as works of art.

At Palms Trading Company, our Kachina dolls, or(Kachinas are a niche item and don’t sell nearly as well as pottery or jewelry. We do not ONLY carry Hopi kachinas here, so “hopi Kachina dolls, as they’re also called,” is inaccurate. Here we’ve collected a little bit of information about why the clown doll, or koshare, in particular, is so popular.

What Makes Native American Koshares Different from the Average Jester

Hopi koshare figures, known as “Tsukulalwa,” were created as a cultural tool to help accomplish a variety of different goals, such as reinforce certain stereotypes, shatter taboos or convey important cultural and spiritual messages. Often, whole societies of Hopi clowns developed and were seen at annual festivals, and can still be seen today, taking part in mischievous horseplay.

For the Hopi people, however, the koshare and what they represent goes much deeper than simply eliciting a cheap laugh. For them, koshare are a way to connect with mankind’s deepest nature, before a sense of morality was developed. Connecting with more nefarious behavior helps remind the Hopi people of their tribal values and what their spiritual beliefs were founded upon.

Some of the most common values Hopi koshare and Kachina dolls reflect are:

  • Nonaggression
  • Non-acquisitiveness
  • Non-inquisitiveness
  • Sexual modesty
  • Self-control
  • Decorous and respectful interpersonal relations

Contact us today for more about Hopi Kachina dolls

Do you want to learn more about the cultural importance of Hopi Kachina dolls? If so, Palms Trading Company would love to tell you more about this rich cultural icon. Contact us online today or call 1 (800) 748-1656.