Human Footprint Symbols

Each symbol or pattern has a brief overview of the Hopi religious and ceremonial meaning and purpose of the design plus links to one or more educational resource for further study. Children can use these patterns and designs to decorate kachinas.

Print and trace the designs onto multi-color fun craft foam sheets to create pliable and colorful soft faces. Use left over trimmings of foam pieces to cut and paste intricate designs and shapes onto the.

Handprint with Labyrinth

separated-digits-handprintThe Sivu-i-kil Taka or Sivu-i-qiltaqa Pot Carrier Man or Hopi Hand Kachina is distinctive with a large red and white hand painted on the mask.

The Hopi Hand is a supernatural reference which represents the prayers, presence, works and achievements of humankind.

Hand gestures, or hand signals, are also important methods of symbolic communication which are especially effective in bridging language differences.

It is believed that the Creative Spirit's power works through the hands of human beings. A "left" hand print is considered more sacred and is commonly found on objects with religious significance.

Nakwach Brotherhood

nakwach-brotherhoodNakwach Brotherhood: The two figures shown here are forms of the Hopi nakwách symbol of brotherhood made when two priests clasp hands during the Wuwuchim dance - the dance of the linked finger. The Ute also carried the same type friendship symbol. The design is also a sign for water.

The Hopi world symbol represents the entire world in four distinct sections of North, South, East and West. These four elements somehow help keep the world in balance.

Legend has it that the current earth in which we inhabit today is the Fourth World created by Tawa. Previous worlds were destroyed along with their wicked inhabitants who refused to live in harmony. Each new world created is a higher world with improved conditions.

Keptevipi is a directional religious symbol with 4 circles representing the seasons of the Earth. Keptevipi are used in the Niman (Hopi) ceremony to purify the Earth. Some think the the symbol represents the 4 eyed insect guardian of the gila monster. The symbol also resembles the Mayan symbol for the day Ahua and the planet Venus also known as the morning star.

Life and Choice Maze Man

life-choices-man-in-the-mazeMan in the Maze, or Life and Choice, design appears on native basketry and rock petroglyphs. The maze may represent the floorplan to a house or an intentional entrance for spirits to enter or be released. The Man in the Maze may also represent life journey, the happiness and sadness we experience and the choices we make throughout life.

border-patternsDecorative Border Patterns

Border patterns are repetitive patterns that are painted on pottery or woven in cloth. The designs generally convey spiritual concepts or special meanings. Spirals and whirlwinds represent water and renewal of life. Kiva steps can indicate clouds, direction or change. Decorative border patterns are used by Hopi folk artists to fill empty spaces and create boundaries in their works of art.

The Hopi wave pattern is one of the most common and popular hopi jewelry symbols in their silver jewelry. It symbolically represents the continuous flow of life or rebirth as water flows. The Hopi wave patterns may vary, based upon the artist's desire and creativity. The wave is very popular and highly collectable.

These symbolic steps, spirals and whorls each hold a special meaning toward the design as a whole:

  • four seasons directionsSpirals: represent whirlwinds, renewal of life or rebirth and different cycles or stages of water
  • Kiva steps: represent change in direction or liferattle
  • Stair steps: These can represent a variety of concepts depending upon the work, a Wedding Basket, Man/Woman, Cloud Points, Night/Day or mountains waterMountains/Sky
  • Waves: represent spirals, water and cycles or stages of water, life and renewal or rebirth