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Kokopelli is a fertility deity worshipped in the southwestern US , usually depicted as a humpbacked flute player with feathers or antenna-like protrusions on his head. Like most fertility deities, Kokopelli presides over childbirth and agriculture and is also a trickster god who represents the spirit of music. He can be seen on the full and waning moon, much like the rabbit figure that many tribes saw on the moon. The Hopi believe that Kokopelli carries unborn children on his back and distributes them to women and has a consort named Kokopelmimi. He presides over the reproduction of game animals and is often depicted with companions such as rams and deer. Other common creatures associated with him include sun-bathing animals such as snakes,as well as water-loving animals like lizards and insects. His flute-playing chases away the winter and brings about spring, and he carries seeds on his back. Some tribes, such as the Zuni, associate him with seasonal rains, and he frequently appears with Paiyatamu, another flutist, in depictions of maize-grinding ceremonies. His earliest images appear on Hohokam pottery from the 8th or 9th centuries, and its first depiction on petroglyphs date from ca. 1000. Many of his earliest depictions are very insect-like in appearance, and his name may be a combination of another Hopi and Zuni deity, Koko, and "pelli" (the Hopi and Zuni word for the desert robber fly, or assassin fly, a powerfully built, bristly insect with a rounded back, stout spiny legs, and a prominent proboscis that encloses a sharp, sucking hypopharynx; it is also noted for its zealous sexual proclivities and aggressive predation. It attacks its prey with its proboscis and injects saliva with enzymes which paralyze the victim and digests its insides.) Because the Spanish first learned of the deity from the Hopi, their name for him is the most common; however, missionaries usually persuaded the Hopi craftsmen to omit its phallus from their representations. As with most kachinas, the Hopi Kokopelli was often represented by a human dancer.
I really like to paint Kokopelli, his shapes gives great freedom of brushstrokes. One of my favorite subjects! Thanks for the background info!
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