Just who was this prehistoric pied piper? About 1,500 years ago, the hunchbacked flute-playing figure we call Kokopelli first appeared in North American rock art. Today he decorates everything from jewelry to potholders. Whether originally he was a deity, a trickster, a wandering Casanova, a fertility symbol, or just a traveling salesman carrying goods on his back, there's no doubt he got around. Kokopelli shows up in rock and ceramic art all across the Southwest-even as far north as the Canadian Rockies. Stories of insect-like, fun-loving flute players abound in Pueblo traditions. He seems to have served many cultures, including our own. One thing is clear, however: much of what we think we know about the humpbacked figure known today as "Kokopelli" is based on a modern misunderstanding.
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