The Moqui Runner (The Moqui Prayer for Rain—The Returning of the Snakes)

A work made of bronze.

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  • A work made of bronze.


Modeled 1896, cast c. 1897


Hermon Atkins MacNeil
American, 1866–1947

About this artwork

The vast array of ethnographic material at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago piqued Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s interest in Native American culture, and he traveled to the West in 1895 to experience it firsthand. The Moqui Runner depicts the Snake Dance, a Hopi (or Moqui) prayer for rain in which priests run from the high mesa to the plains while grasping handfuls of snakes. MacNeil achieved a new level of dynamism that reflected the thrill of the spectacle, as described by his friend, the author Hamlin Garland: “They had rushed four miles at top speed, but they mounted the trail toward Walpi with incredible celerity. As they passed me their long hair waved up at the sides in a peculiar and beautiful fringe. I have never seen anything finer in the way of motion.”

Currently Off View

American Art


Hermon Atkins MacNeil


The Moqui Runner (The Moqui Prayer for Rain—The Returning of the Snakes)


United States






Signed on side of base: "H. A. MAC NEIL. Sc.Fond.Nelli.ROMA" Inscribed around side of base, front: "THE RETURNING OF THE SNAKES" Inscribed under center of the figure, on base: "THE MOQUI / PRAYER.FOR.RAIN"


H.: 57.2 cm (22 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Edward E. Ayer

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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