The Crow Mother is the most important chief of the Powamu (bean planting) Ceremony. She is responsible for initiating the young into the Kachina. Every 4 years, children aged 6-10 are initiated into the clan. Three kachiman participate- the Crow Mother and her two sons Black Tungwüp and the Blue Tungwüp.
Crow Mother is also the leader of the "whipping" order of the kachina. She is often portrayed holding yucca leaves which she would have used to whip the children during the initiation ceremony. In turn, they would have the opportunity to whip her back!
Her garb is always described in great detail and on two of the three mesas she wears a long dark dress with an embroidered shawl (on the third she wears all white when she is portrayed as the Crow Bride). Her helmet is always turquoise with upside down triangles. Finally, the crow's feathers ascend upwards towards the heavens on either side forming the shape of her wings.
Artist Harold Nequatewa pays close attention to the Crow Mother's garb from the intricate carvings of the crow feathers to the tassels on her shawl down to the creases in the moccasins on her feet. He carves her holding a bowl which would have been filled with either bean sprouts or corn- initiating the beginnings of planting season. The Hopi myths are filled with stories of fertility, rain, and return- the life cycles that are so important to their livelihoods and the traditions they have carried with them for centuries.
Kachina: Crow Mother
Artist: Harold Nequatewa, Hopi, Arizona
Dimensions: 15-3/4 in. x 4-3/4 in.