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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
042. (Objects) Treatment and Reconstruction of a Badly Damaged Hopi Katsina Doll Made of Gourd

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This poster will display the step by step treatment of an unusual Hopi Katsina doll - Katsina is the Hopi spelling of the more common Kachina. These dolls are not only associated with the Hopi, but also the Zuni and Pueblo communities of the American Southwest. The brightly painted figures are usually carved from wood. This treatment addressed a badly damaged and privately owned Katsina which was brought to the UCLA/Getty conservation lab for treatment. The piece, depicting the eagle spirit or Kwaakatsina, was made in 1995 by the Hopi artist Ferrill Nequatewa, best known for making traditional gourd rattles. Like his rattles, this Katsina is composed primarily of hollow gourd. In this case two, one for the body and one for the head. The figure's limbs are made from a combination of wooden pieces and are attached with both adhesive and wooden dowels. There are additional fur and feather details on the head and around the neck. The figure is brightly painted with acrylics. The gourd which makes up the body of this Katsina is particularly thin-walled and fragile, and as a result it suffered the majority of the damage when the Katsina was broken into pieces. When the limbs and head were broken free from the body they took with them significant portions of the gourd wall. This greatly complicated their reattachment as the joins between the pieces of gourd were extremely thin and unable to safely support the weight of the arms on their own. Long cracks propagating across the gourd had caused it to twist slightly, making alignment and stabilization less straightforward. While these two tasks occupied the bulk of the treatment, other condition issues addressed include cleaning and minor repairs to some of the feathers as well as thorough mechanical cleaning of the fur collar which upon examination was found to contain the remains of a past insect infestation. Particular challenges during this treatment included the repair and stabilization of cracks in the gourd body while retaining flexibility and avoiding rigidity; reattachment and reinforcement of the arms which required an internal armature to take the weight off the repaired gourd walls which otherwise were the only points of attachment; stabilization of the base to solve an existing wobble which was endangering the already top heavy figure; and finally the visual reintegration of the most distracting cracks in the Katsina body.

avatar for Hayley Monroe

Hayley Monroe

Master's Student, UCLA/Getty Program for the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials
Hayley Monroe is a third year student in the UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in Classics. She gained field experience in the conservation of ceramics, metals, glass and... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower
  9. Poster, Objects