Carved painted figures from cottonwood of the Hopi Indian culture, they are believed to function as messengers between the spiritual and physical worlds. Among the Hopi, it is believed that although Kachinas are spirits of deities and deceased ancestors, the carvings should be treasured and used as teaching tools and home decoration, but not be objects of worship. Most of the dolls were carved in the 19th century. The Heard Museum of Phoenix and Southwest Museum in Los Angeles have the most representative collections of Kachinas. Well-known Hopi Kachina doll carvers include Arlo and Dan Namingha, Tony Briones and Kucha White Bear. Source: Sonja Haller, "The Phoenix Republic", March 12, 2011; Wikipedia, "Hopi Kachina Dolls"