Kokopelli is a prehistoric deity depicted hundreds of times in rock art in the south-western United States.
Where and how is it used?
Often shown as a humpbacked flute player, this mythical being has survived in recognizable form from Anasazi times to the present. The Anasazi or “Ancient Ones” were primarily farmers in the Colorado area. The Basketmaker Period (c. 200BC) and the Pueblo Period (c. 700AD) include Kokopelli as one of their deities. Today he is one of the Hopi ‘kachinas’ (deified ancestral spirits). There are widely-held beliefs that he was a fertility symbol, roving minstrel or trader, rain priest, magician, trickster, and seducer of maidens. In Pueblo myths, Kokopelli carries in his hump, seeds, babies, and blankets to offer to maidens that he seduces. In other myths, he wanders between villages with bags of songs on his back. As a fertility symbol, he was welcome during corn-planting season and was sought after by barren wives, although avoided by shy maidens. It has been speculated that the figure originally derived from travelling traders who announced their arrival by playing a flute as they approached.
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Why do you want to add it to the museum?
I first met Kokopelli in 1999. We had gone to America on holiday. Just before coming home we were browsing the souvenir shops in search of keepsakes. In one particular shop I spotted the shape of a colourful figure, blowing a long pipe-like instrument, and wearing what appeared to be an Indian headdress. The label proclaimed the figure to be: Kokopelli, a flute player famous throughout American Indian culture as a symbol of abundance and fertility. This was something that I had to have. Later, back home, I did some research and came up with some interesting information.
My next meeting with Kokopelli was eight years later. I had visited the Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton to see an exhibition. On display were the artworks from 50 covers of the arts magazine Evolver. Imagine my surprise when I saw that one of the exhibits was a painting of Kokopelli. He was shown as a stick-like figure wearing what looked a rain cape, so that he appeared to be armless. The painting was for sale. I would have loved to have bought it. However the asking price was too prohibitive.
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Is made in a factory
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Materials & Making
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a local craftsman
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What skills does it take to make it?
metal work skills
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What is it made from?
1. metal :
Buying & Owning
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Not answered yet
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Who or what sells it?
a souvenir shop
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Where is it used?
as an ornamnet in my house
Where is it kept?
on a display shelf
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