Masaw, Hopi Earth God Quilt

November, 2020

Masaw, Hopi Earth God Quilt

Vonette Monongya

Third Mesa, Arizona
42 x 55 inches 
Cotton; machine-pieced, hand-painted, tied. 
Carolyn O’Bagy Davis Collection, IQM 2020.050.0024

The Hopi people live in 12 villages in northeast Arizona regions referred to as First Mesa, Second Mesa and Third Mesa. The Hopi have a long history of producing beautiful cotton and wool blankets, robes, belts and ceremonial sashes. Since missionaries introduced quilting to Hopi women more than 100 years ago, Hopi artisans have adopted the quilting tradition and made it their own. Hopi women quilt for many of the same reasons seen around the world—for wedding and baby gifts, for family use, for personal satisfaction and sometimes for sale.

Donor Carolyn O’Bagy Davis, author of Hopi Summer, writes: "Masaw is very powerful and sacred to the Hopi People. I was surprised, and a bit shocked when I saw Vonette had made this quilt. When I asked her about it, Vonette said that she had talked to some of her family elders, and they gave her permission to create this quilt."

To learn more about the significance of the Masaw (also often written Maasaw, Masauwu, Mausauu) among the Hopi People, click here to view "Hopi Origin Story", narrated by Marlene Sekaquaptewa, on Arizona PBS.