This medal was chosen as the third issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series in 1931. The obverse bears five Hopi rain dancers, two with snakes in their mouths, two distracting the snakes with eagle feathers, and one crouching to gather up snakes. In exergue, incuse HOPI; at lower right, H A macNeil
The reverse bears dancers racing from mesa onto the desert, hands full of snakes to be returned to their dens. Lightning flashes above. In exergue, incuse PRAYER FOR RAIN; at lower left, incuse ©
This medal's theme was based on bas-relief panels that MacNeil had made decades earlier after a visit to a Hopi reservation. In the brochure accompanying the medal he wrote:
"The two incidents of the Hopi Prayer for Rain on the mesas of northeastern Arizona depicted on this medal are chosen by your sculptor because of the extraordinary vital enthusiasm and power that the Indians throw into this ceremony. Having witnessed it and been thrilled by the intensity of their emotion and on further study by the complicated and perfectly natural development of this drama, I cannot help feel that in it we find a basic note underlying all religions. All these Southwest Indians, living as they do in an arid region, have developed their religion along the lines of their greatest need - water."
This is one of the SOM medals that come in several strikingly different finshes. You can scroll the medal images between variants.
Struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York, the medal is an ovoid measuring 74mm x 70mm. The reported mintage of this medal is 1,713 medals in bronze and 25 in silver.
References: Baxter 354, Marqusee 251