Artist: Tom Holmes (Deceased)
Cottonwood Root (1992) | 14”h x 8”w x 6”d
The most well-known and perhaps the most beautiful among katsinam is more than likely the Hemis which are typically present at a Niman Ceremony or Home Dance, the last dance of the year in late summer symbolizing the happiness of a successful harvest. The elaborate tableta, or headdress, is attributed for its beauty and is often painted with cloud symbols, fertility representations and topped off with feathers. Wearing a kilt on its lower half, darkened chests are emblazoned with lighter colored half-moons and evergreen sprigs appear near the neckline. The Hemis only appear with others of its type during the ceremony. However, the Hemis Manas, the town elders, do provide a rhythmic accompaniment with gourds, drums and sticks and make sounds resembling distant thunder.
In this beautifully crafted piece by Tom Holmes, the Hemis Katsina carries gourd rattles and corn stalks.