The Moqui Prayer for Rain

Hermon Atkins MacNeil American
Cast by Fonderia Nelli Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

On his visit to northern Arizona in 1895, MacNeil witnessed the Moqui (Hopi) people’s annual prayer for rain at the top of the mesa at Oraibi. At the climax of the snake dance, participants in the ceremony ran down the trail from the mesa holding live serpents, returning them to the plain so that their prayers would be answered. MacNeil’s statuette is a dynamic study of motion, from the swift rush of the forward-leaning figure to the writhing of the snakes coiled around his arms and even in his hair.

The Moqui Prayer for Rain, Hermon Atkins MacNeil (American, Everett, Massachusetts 1866–1947 Queens, New York), Bronze, American

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