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Exhibition Not an Ostrich: & Other Images from America's Library

K. T. (Katherine Taylor) Dodge. Devils dance [i.e. Devil Dancers], 1899. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (72.00.00)
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KATHERINE TAYLOR DODGE. Apache Devil Dancers. Southwestern United States, ca. 1899

Katherine Taylor Dodge photographed Native Americans and other subjects in Arizona in the late 1890s. The devil or crown dance, performed primarily by Mescalero and Chiricahua Apache in the Southwest, is a very old and sacred dance that the Apaches believe was taught by the mountain spirits as a means of healing. The four Crown dancers are masked and wear distinctive headdresses. They represent the four cardinal directions—north, south, east, and west. The fifth dancer is the clown who protects the others by driving away evil spirits.