Across Native American cultures, Corn Maidens play a special role, symbolizing the prayers of the people for a bountiful harvest. Hopi and the Zuni people tell their own stories of the Corn Maiden, creating Katsinam and fetishes in her honor.
Cherished by the Zuni people, the Corn Maidens came to the villages to dance, bringing with them a new and bountiful harvest each year. Representative of women and their important role in Zuni culture, Corn Maiden fetishes are created from a variety of materials including coral, turquoise and onyx. Each fetish is unique, with some artists capturing the maiden as a young woman and others as a mature figure.
Once of our favorite pieces, a double-sided fetish carved from shell, displays six different maidens and reflects the lifetime of a woman.
According to Hopi legend, the most beautiful of the Corn Maidens was the Blue Corn Maiden, and because of her beauty and kindness she was stolen away by the Winter Katsina – taking the corn harvest with her. Summer Katsina sought out Winter Katsina, and persuaded him to return the Corn Maiden to the people for half the year, which is why the corn harvest occurs every summer.
Sometimes depicted carrying yellow corn and sometimes carrying blue corn, Hopi Corn Maiden Katsina dolls are named by the color of corn they carry. Their presence symbolizes the people’s prayer for corn and a bountiful harvest.
Both beautiful and meaningful, a Corn maiden fetish, Katsina doll or piece of jewelry makes a wonderful gift for any woman interested in Native American culture. Here at Kachina House we carry a wide array of corn maiden items, including Zuni and Hopi carved earrings and necklaces. Shop with us online or contact our Sedona, Arizona shop by phone at 866-587-0547 for help finding a specific piece.