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Snake Dancer in Costume

The Hopi Snake Dance

The Snake dance, best known of Hopi ceremonies and one of the most spectacular of all primitive performances, is a biennial, sixteen-day rite conducted by the Snake and Antelope fraternities as a dramatized prayer for rain.  It occurs in the odd-numbered years at Walpi and Mishongnovi, and in even-numbered years at Shipaulovi, Shongopavi, and Oraibi…

…Preparations for the Snake dance begin in the winter, not long after the ceremony of the Warrior society, when the leaders of the Snakes and Antelopes make pahos, which are then planted in the four directions as offerings to the chiefs of these world-regions. 

Edward S. Curtis, The North American Indian, Text XII, 135-136, 1922.

Edward Curtis

Original Copper Plate

17.5" x 13"


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