Mickey Mouse Kachina

  • Unidentified, Mickey Mouse Kachina, after 1930, carved and painted cottonwood, feathers, and string, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson, 1986.65.311

In Pueblo mythology, kachinas are spirit beings that act as intermediaries between humans and deities. Dancers and clowns wore masks to tell the stories of these supernatural beings, and fathers and uncles presented children with kachina dolls on festival days as part of their religious education. Over time, kachina dolls became a popular tourist commodity in the American Southwest, and styles of representation changed to meet the demands of consumers. When Disney Studios put a mouse hero on the silver screen in the 1930s, Hopi artists saw in Mickey Mouse a celebration of Tusan Homichi, the legendary mouse warrior who defeated a chicken-stealing hawk. The Mickey Mouse Kachina blends Hopi culture and American entertainment: the figure holds a traditional gourd rattle and wears moccasins, but the face has Mickey’s iconic round black ears and markings.

Mickey Mouse Kachina
after 1930
11 345 384 34 in. (29.713.712.1 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson

Mediums Description
carved and painted cottonwood, feathers, and string
  • Cartoon – comics – Mickey Mouse
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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