Kokopelli is an ancient enigma.
Kokopelli has become one of the most recognizable symbols of the US Southwest. He appears on everything from cups to caps, from T-shirts to tiles, from pottery to placemats. His modern incarnation is usually a curved stick figure playing a flute. To the ancient ones who scratched his image in petroglyphs he was many things. To some he was a symbol of abundance and fertility. To some he was a roving minstrel, to others a magician. He might have been a shaman or a seducer. He might have been a trader or a trickster. It's likely that he held several character traits at the same time. In any case, his image became the most recognizable of the rock-art figures, and an icon of the Southwestern United States.
Kokopelli petroglyphsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Ancient American's left us many artifacts and many mysteries. We speculate on their cultures and their daily life by inspecting ruins of their homes, scratching through trash pits, and analyzing their artwork. They left us many examples of rock-art, generally in two forms. Pictographs are drawn or painted on rock surfaces, and are less common. Petroglyphs are images pecked into the rock surface. In Arizona, the Hohokam and other people scraped their designs through a dark varnish of iron oxide and magnesium oxide that formed on rock surfaces.
Kokopelli: The Magic, Mirth and Mischief of an Ancient Symbol by Dennis Slifer
Slifer is a research associate at the New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. His engaging book explores one of the most enigmatic symbols of the Southwest. He looks at the flute player in four ways: a fascinating historical overview, a look at rock art in general, a look at the multiple faces and personalities of Kokopelli and a guide to rock-art sites. This is a great place to get closer to Kokopelli.
Kokopelli's libido (from Wikipedia)
"Kokopelli is a fertility deity, usually depicted as a humpbacked flute player (often with a huge phallus and antenna-like protrusions on his head), who has been venerated by many Native American cultures ... Kokopelli is often depicted with an inhumanly large phallus. Among the Ho-Chunk, this penis is detachable, and he sometimes leaves it in a river ..." Wkipedia on Kokopelli
Kokopelli in artClick thumbnail to view full-size
On The Trail Of Kokopelli
"The Southwest Indians' Humpbacked Flute Player, commonly known by the Hopi word "Kokopelli," usually appears on stone or ceramics or plaster as part of a galaxy of ancient characters and symbols. On a steep canyon wall above the Little Colorado river north of Springerville, Arizona, however, a Kokopelli pecked into a basaltic boulder appears in absolute isolation." from DesertUSA by Jay W. Sharp... Full article
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