Katsinas are the spirit essence of everything in the real world. Their existence is inferred from the steam which rises from food and whose loss does not change the form of the food, to the mist rising from a spring on a cold morning or the cloud which forms above a mountain top. As the breath of a dying Hopi departs it also must join the other mist-beings in a spirit world, the exact counterpart of the real Hopi world but with different powers. Thus when the clouds form over the mountain tops and drift over the Hopi villages it is the rain-bringing Katsinas who are there. The clouds hide not only the faces of the Hopi's departed ancestors who, taking pity on their grandchildren, are bringing them rain, but also an almost infinite variety of Katsinas who have other functions beside rain bringing.*
native american traders only offers Hopi Katsinas. Most recent dolls will be signed by their carvers. However, the signing of dolls is a rather "new tradition", therefore older dolls may not be identified nor signed.
Sources For Descriptions Used With Permission:
* Hopi Kachinas, The Complete Guide to Collecting Kachina Dolls, Barton Wright,Published by Northland Publishing
** Kachinas, a Hopi Artist's Documentary, Barton Wright, Published by NorthlandPublishing
*** Hopi Kachina Dolls with a Key to Their Identification, Harold S. Colton,Published by The University of New Mexico Press
**** Correspondence with Barton Wright