Bean Dance: Hopi Kachina Carvings, Review


Blue Whipper, n.d., by Cecil Calnimptewa, Jr., Hopi Pueblo, b. 1950, wood and paint, from The Hyatt Collection.



Bean Dance: Hopi Kachina Carvings is an exhibit located at the Philbrook Downtown that highlights a special aspect of Hopi religion through carvings that represent kachinas. The exhibit states while actual kachinas are sacred spirit beings central to Hopi religion, the carvings on display were made for the market and are only representing them. They are not deemed sacred.

The exhibit focuses on the Bean Dance, or Powamu, which is a ceremony that occurs every February. Powamu emphasizes preparing the earth for the upcoming planting season, among many other things. The intricate and breathtaking carvings show a part of the Hopi culture that isn’t usually seen by non-Hopi members, giving a small glimpse of their beliefs. Accompanying some pieces are even small paragraphs explaining what that particular one represents.

The exhibit allows the visitor to really take time and look at each carving purposefully. They are all so different from one another, making the exhibit enjoyable seeing the different designs artists had created!