White Ogre - Na'taska - Tom Fredericks 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).
Tom Fredericks has been carving full figure Kachina dolls since 1987. Tom is the son of John Fredericks, also a famous carver, and resides in Kykotsmovi, Third Mesa, AZ. Tom was taught the art of carving cottonwood root into magnificent figures by his friend, Wilmer Kaye, an award winning Hopi carver.
Tom's work has been recognized though awards in jurried competitions throughout the Southwest, such as The Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff.
Theda Bassman (1991) writes:
Thomas Fredericks is from Kykotsmovi at the eastern foot of the Third Mesa. He has developed a unique finish that bives his katsina dolls a natural stained look. Thomas is the son of Hopi master carver John Fredericks, and has become an outstanding carver, like his father. While Thomas usually carves full-figure Katsinas, he often likes to carve sculpture style dolls, when the wood lends itself to a sculpture carving. He states that he likes the natural curvature of the cottonwood root and tries to use that to cap[ture the motion of the Katsina at the ceremonies. (Arizona Tribal Collectors)
Item No.: KD.0027
Artist: Tom Fredericks
Size: 14.5 in H