This Hopi carving depicts a Palhik Mana, the butterfly maiden. Although it belongs to the tradition of Katsina carving (see Day 14), this figure does not depict a spiritual being, but a Butterfly Dancer. The Butterfly Dance is held in late summer to give thanks for the harvest and recognize the butterfly for its beauty and contributions to pollinating fields and bringing rain. Young unmarried women perform the dance in elaborate headdresses (kopatsoki) designed by their male dance partners. Rain clouds and a butterfly adorn the headdress of this early doll, which likely was made between 1880 and 1910, when Hopi carvers first began to produce dolls for the tourist market. We do not know the name of the artist who carved this doll.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.