Black Ogre - Na'taska - Keith Torres Hopi Katsina Doll
Every year, usually in January, the Soyoko group of Katsinas appear and make the round of all the houses disciplining the children. They are feared by the children who are all familiar with the stories of Soyoko, the female monster, Soyok Wuhti, who catches Hopi boys and girls to cook and eat of feed them to her own children. Parents often threaten their disobedient children by telling them of Soyoko, and this annual appearance of the whole group reinforces the threat.
The Soyoko is the leader of the group. She is accompanied by two Na'taska, one black (Black Ogre) and one white (White Ogre), both equally frightening. Another terrifying figure with a black mask, big mouth and feathers running front to back, referred to as their uncle makes the rounds with them.
The children are warned in advance by their parents that the monsters are coming to take away all who are disobedient. When they appear in the village, they give a low rambling call and approach the nearest house. The Na'taska go up to the walls and scrape the ends of their saws against them. The uncle calls for the child and accuses him of his misdeeds. Sometimes he threatens to take the child away with him. The Soyoko repeats the threat, often reaching out toward him with her crook. By this time the child is usually terrified, clings to his mother's skirts and attempts to hide behind her. At this point, presents of corn meal are offered to the monsters. The uncle reaches for them and takes the child's arm instead. Despite of promises of good behavior, the Katsinas are adamant. The exchange of pleas and threats is quite protracted, and throughout, the others are giving their low rambling call, banging their saws against the house, and jumping around to the accompaniment of their bells and rattles. Finally, the uncle agrees to relent provided the present offered is satisfactory to the long-billed Na'taskas. They always refuse three times, greater quantities of food being offered after each ref8usal. Finally, they accept it. Then, it is offered to the two Heheya Katsinas (also among the companions of the Soyoko) to taste. If it meets with their approval, it is loaded into a carrying basket and they move on to the next house. Here, the whole scene is reenacted. In this way, they visit every house in the village, and finally go away with their baskets filled with meats and corn meal.
Ref.: Edwin earl and E. A. Kennard, Hopi Kachinas, J. J. Augustin Publisher, New York City (1938).
Keith A. Torres is from First Mesa. He is of the Coyote and Fire Clans. He learned to carve from his uncle, Edward Poleahla, and has since won awards for his carving such as First Place in 1996 at the Gallup Ceremonial.
He is listed in Erik Bromberg's The Hopi Approach to the Art of KACHINA DOLL CARVING. Keith is an exceptional carver who has a wonderful eye for detail along with the skill and ability to create truly important works of art through his carving.
Item No.: KD.0026
Artist: Keith Torres
Size: 10 in H