A legendary male figure associated with several American Indian tribes of the southwestern United
States (Hopi, Zuni, Navajo, and Pueblo), Kokopelli is known by many names including The Hunchbacked
Flute Player, Casanova of the Cliff Dwellers, the Water Sprinkler, the Fertility Enhancer and the
Wandering Minstrel, among others. Dating back as early as 200 A.D. to as late as the 16th century,
the painted rocks (pictographs) and the stone scratched images (petroglyphs) found in the Indian ruins
vary as much as the tales about him. As the Traveling Salesman, his flute playing announced his arrival
to the villagers and meant that he came in peace. As the Water Sprinkler he acted as a minor god
bearing gifts of food and water. As the Wandering Minstrel he was known as carrying a bag of songs
on his back. Some legends portray Kokopelli as a bearer of fertility seeds and a rather colorful
character seducing all of the women and his wife, Kokopelli-mana, as a counterpart chasing all of the men.
One of the largest displays ever found of petroglyph images of Kokopelli is in the Flute Player House
in a remote part of Monument Valley on the Navajo Reservation. The name Kokopelli is believed to have
originated with the Zuni and Hopi names for a god (Koko) and a predatory insect (with a hump on its back)
called a pelli.
Visit our online gift shop.
Learn more about Kokopelli from the book
Kokopelli, Casanova of the Cliff Dwellers by
John V. Young.