It is not known exactly when Katsina dolls began to be carved. A simple flat slab figurine dated
to the 14
century and discovered in the Double Butte Cave in Arizona is painted in such a way
to suggest a mask and other Katsina-like features. This specimen has been regarded as a proto-
Katsina by some archaeologists, but this has been questioned by others.
Spanish explorers who intruded into Pueblo Indian villages in the 1500s wrote of seeing small
wooded “idols”, which they promptly gathered up and burned in at least one instance.
The first undisputed Katsina dolls were obtained in Hopi villages in the mid-1800s. John
Gregory Bourke, an army officer who participated in campaigns against the Apache, Sioux, and
Cheyenne and who spent his spare time studying Indians, described Katsina dolls he had
purchased as “…flat wooden gods or doll-babies” which “…are nothing but coarse
monstrosities, painted in high colors, generally green.”
There is also the question of the extent the Spanish may have influenced Katsinam development.
The friars taught the Pueblo Indians the art of carving to produce church decorations, and it is
possible that native craftsmen applied or adapted the techniques and styles used in carving of
Catholic Saints or Santos to their own Katsinam.
History of the Collection
The Cradle Katsinam were collected between 1980 and 2002. The collection got started in 1980,
when Dr. Layne’s daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Allen Farnsworth gave him a Prairie
Falcon (Kisa) Cradle Katsina carved by Theodore Puhuyesva, along with a copy of Dr. Harold
Colton’s book “Hopi Kachina Dolls with a Key to Their Identification.” for Christmas. He was
fascinated, and Katsinam became a new avenue study for Dr. Layne, in addition to his
distinguished life work as a Vertebrate Zoologist. His scientific training, and penchant for
classification are evident in the care he took in amassing, studying, and documenting his beloved
collection of Hopi Cradle Katsinam.
The Cradle Katsinam were purchased from various retail venues in the Southwestern U.S. during
Dr. Layne’s numerous visits over the years. The primary initial source of cradle dolls carved by
Ted Puhuyesva was the Museum of Northern Arizona gift shop. Ted worked for the Museum of
Northern Arizona as a custodian. Dr. Layne eventually met Ted in person in the mid-1990s, and
first visited his home on Third Mesa in 1997. During this visit, Ted agreed to carve cradle dolls
to order for Dr. Layne. Dr. Layne would color copy images of the Katsinam in the various
references that he wanted, and would send the images along with a letter to Ted. In a few weeks,
a box would arrive with the cradle dolls, an invoice, and sometimes a short, cryptic note from
Ted. Dr. Layne would send a money order right away for payment. These special orders
averaged about a dozen Cradle dolls at a time, every month and a half for about 5 years. This
continued until Ted’s death in 2002. Of the 611 cradle dolls carved by Ted in this collection,