Kokopelli: The Making of an Icon


“Combining a wealth of scholarly data with a highly readable text is a feat rarely accomplished in anthropology. Ekkehart Malotki has done it remarkably well in ‘Kokopelli.’ All interested in this mystical flute player should add it to their library.” --- Tony Hillerman.

“Malotki ... analyzes the mystical fascination Americans have for the Panesque player of the flute. ... Anyone interested in the Hopi, or mythological characters, will enjoy this thoroughly intriguing investigation.” --- Booklist.

“Zweifellos ist dieses Buch die umfassendste and gründlichste Studie über die mythologische Gestalt des Kokopelli das bislang existiert.” --- Dietmar Kuegler, Magazin für Amerikanistik.

“The book is an original contribution to the documentation of Hopi culture and an insightful analysis of the commodification of the Kokopelli image.” --- D.R. Parks, Indiana University-Bloomington..

“Kokopelli, the mythical, hump-backed flute player ... is one of the most popular American Indian icons adopted by American culture. ... Here is one scholar’s viewpoint on just what exactly Kokopelli is, and how the phenomenon seemingly evolved from traditional Hopi culture: He has definitely done his homework and his fieldwork.” --- New Mexico.

“Recherche approfondie sur l’un des principaux personnages de l’art rupestre du Sud-Ouest américain. L’auteur montre la transformation des cet ancien mythe Hopi et son appropriation moderne.” --- Jean Clottes, International Newsletter on Rock Art.

“The image and name of the humpbacked fluteplayer Kokopelli appear on everything from jewelry and t-shirts to nature trails and string quartets. Malotki finds that the figure’s popularity developed through cultural misunderstandings and linguistic corruptions that have blended and confused several elements: a prehistoric rock motif from the Four Corners area, the contemporary icon based on this rock art, the Hopi kachina Kookopölö, modeled on the robber fly, who has a hump and is associated with fertility but never carries a flute; and maahu, the cicada, whose flute playing warms the earth and ripens crops. In addition to discussing these ethnographic elements, the author presents six Hopi oral tales that demonstrate the contrast between the traditional material and today’s ubiquitous mythical fluteplayer of the Southwest.” --- Science.

“La calidad de la edición, la buena idea de reproducir los petroglifos sobre un fondo oscuro y en papel de calidad, las fotos interiores algunas del mismo Malotki, unas de arqueología otras de entomología, son factores que convierten a ‘Kokopelli, the Making of an Icon’ en un libro de art prehispánico.” --- Alicia A. Fernandez Distel, Anthropos.

“The strength of this book lies in its detailed review of Hopi texts combined with six folktales, and the author’s integrative commentary.” --- Polly Schaafsma, New Mexico Historical Review.

“Ekkehart Malotki carefully distinguishes the flute-playing icon from the fluteless god Kookopölö, discusses the robber fly as the manifest model for the kachina god, and considers the cicada as a possible model for the prehistoric icon, the old meanings of which are otherwise unknown.” --- William Hansen, Indiana University, Bloomington. Journal of Folklore Research.

“For those interested in Kokopelli’s rise to fame, Malotki has investigated its origins from a Hopi perspective and presents in this study a linguistic genealogy of three similar icons: one derived from the robber fly and symbolizing procreation, one from the cicada and representative of a source of heat needed for plant growth, and yet another that appears in rock art with a flute. ... Read this book and you’ll never look at Kokopelli the same way again.” --- Betty Parker, Southwest BookViews.