Turquoise Lizard Kachina by Arnold Lomatewama

Kachina: Turquoise Lizard

The Monongya or Turquoise Lizard Kachina is often beautifully painted with earth tones and turquoise. This dancer wears a lot of turquoise and has turquoise colored moccasins, because it represents a particular species of lizard called the Crotophytus, which has turquoise head, sides and tail and moves swiftly. One of the “fighting kachinas,” the Lizard is very fast in movement and chastises the clowns during the dance ceremonies.

Lizards are thought to be the matchmakers of the three mesas (a version of Cupid); if a young man met an actual lizard, he would address the reptile as his friend and seek a favorable interview with his sweetheart.

This kachina appears mostly in mixed kachina dances, but is also seen in the Powamu.

The Turquoise Lizard has a lizard painted on the back of his headdress and a fox pelt hanging from his belt. He carried a stick of yucca switch in one hand and a bow in the other. He has a braided collar of brown grasses, which help support the headdress while he darts in and out of the other dancers.