Hopi Rock Art, An Annotated Bibliography
Shanda Vaught, December 16, 2002
1980 Indian Rock Art of the Southwest.
In this source Schaafsma is describing rock art from the Pueblo IV Rio Grande
Classic period. She states that, “Pueblo IV anthropomorphs
and kachina masks from Zuni, Hopi, and the
2000 Warrior, Shield, and Star: Imagery and Ideology of
This book was most notable for the excellent color pictures of shield figures throughout the book, both from rock art and in kiva murals. This book was primarily focused on theories of pueblo war fare and possible influences from Meso-America, but included discussions of shield figures in rock-art and kiva murals. The shield figures are interesting because they tend to be very abstract, while other forms of Hopi rock-art, such as clan symbols, are much more representational. One Betatakin shield figure has been tentatively identified by Hopi elders as Masau, a Hopi diety, because of its skull-like face and the flame colored arcs that border it (Schaafsma 2000:23). Anthropologists Ekkehart Malotki and Patricia McCreery think that the figure may actually be a female figure, Tiikuywuuti, since it is similar to other, more obviously female, figures in the same area (Schaafsma 2000:24-26).Another petroglyph is shown with a beak and two short parallel lines just below his eye. These “warrior marks” have been described by Hopis as the Elder War Twin’s footsteps (Schaafsma 2000:56).Another interesting fact is that figures who may be Masau are frequently found in deep cave recesses or near cracks. At Hopi these figures are sometimes juxtaposed with shield figures (Schaafsma 2000:58-9).The book also touches on the relationship of war related rock-art and the landscape, noting that some locations, especially high places, may have been places where supernatural powers were being appealed to (Schaafsma 2000:108-112). This may relate to the occurrences of rock-art near shrines or shrine-like places where offerings can be left.The book also indicates that while shield figures may have served a protective function for nearby homes, there are instances of shield figures and tally marks serving as documentation for a successful battle. In these cases the tally marks show the number of slain, and the shields depicted are those of the enemy (Schaafsma 2000:111).
Slifer, Dennis and James Duffield
1994 Kokopelli, Fluteplayer Images in Rock
This book is primarily about Kokopelli, but it is relevant since Kokopelli is sometimes depicted in Hopi rock-art. The book discusses similarities between the bulbous shape found on the end of some Kokopelli flutes and the water gourds that are sometimes attached to the ends of flutes used in Hopi Flute Society ceremonies (Slifer 1994:21). This source also discusses possible origins and migrations of Kokopelli and includes a Hopi informant’s belief that Kokopelli is a Flute Clan symbol, who was a regular human in ancient times, a great leader who did many good things and was made into a katsina after he died. Kokopelli is credited with bringing Asa Clan to Zuni and represents Spider, Water, and Titmouse Clans (Slifer 1994:24-6).The source also mentions a rock-art depiction of Kokopelli that appears to illustrate a Hopi myth regarding Kokopelli’s courtship of a beautiful maiden (Slifer 1994:55). The complete myth is detailed in the appendix.
1936 The Hopi Journal of Alexander Stephen.
This source was very interesting, but its journal format can make it difficult to follow and its sheer size makes it difficult to navigate, although it has an excellent index. One reference to rock-art (Fig. 83) showed a drawing of a roughly h-shaped outline. Inside the outline is a filled in circle, a cross, and 2 curvilinear shapes. Below is the caption, “Fig. 83. Ute shield (Yu’ta tübo’ota). Moon and Friendship mark (nakwachve’eta): ‘When the moon was half gone i.e. full moon, with our friends we slew the enemy.’ About 2 ½ ft. x 2 ft., rubbed on rock” (Stephen 1936:131). Associated with this spot was a story about a Tewa woman who was digging coal when a number of large boulders fall on her and imprisoned her, but did not kill her. Her people tried to dig her out for ten days and ten nights before she died. They left her there (Stephen 1936:130-132). The relevance of this story to the rock-art is unclear. There is also a drawing of an Apache shield that was located near the Ute shield. This shield is round with shapes (legs?) coming out of the bottom. Below it are two sets of tally marks. The caption indicates that it is an Apache shield and that the tallies represent the number of slain Apaches and Apache women. It is about 3 ft in diameter (Stephen 1936:132).This source also describes an interesting link between rock-art and grave sites, “Pecked in the cliff on the south side of Müsho’ñĭnovi is a shield about 30 in. in diameter (Fig. 400). ‘When I am dead and below my shield will be here’” (Stephen 1936:745). The source of the comment is unknown. A cemetery is also described in conjunction with rock-art, “The cemetery lies among the ground plan between boulder and pillar. There are numerous petroglyphs on the north and south face of the pillar, the south face peckings quite inaccessible and from forty to sixty feet from the base. Many ka’ü (corn) and pa’shmi (field) prayer-sticks, old sticks lie at the north base of the pillar” (Stephen 1936:747). Although the cemetery is mentioned in relationship to the rock-art it is unclear if he meant to emphasize a connection or simply describe the place.
1942 Sun Chief: The Autobiography of a Hopi Indian.
This is one of the most interesting sources I found because it is from the
Hopi point of view. The description of the author’s experience on the Salt
Journey includes interactions with rock-art, “Traveling a mile farther, we
arrived at the shrine where Hopi salt gatherers carve their clan emblems on
the rocks. Our ancestors had gathered salt for many generations, and there
were hundreds of clan emblems cut into the rocky base of the shrine. Every
traveler, on each successive trip, had carved another symbol to the left of
his original one. My father had carved eleven sand dunes in the course of
his life and Talasvuyauoma had carved ten coyote heads. I selected a smooth
surface nearby and carved my Sun symbol, also tracing my initials on the emblem;
but I kept this secret, fearing that my companions would object to it as something
modern. When I had finished, I placed the breath line of a prayer feather
at the mouth of my Sun symbol, pounded it with a stone until it stuck and
prayed: “My uncle, the Sun god, please notice that I have carved my clan emblem
upon the stone. Direct our steps to the
1972 The Hopi Indians of Old Oraibi: Change and
This source describes another interesting Hopi interaction with rock-art, although it is unclear if the rock-art in question is of Hopi origin or simply left over from some other cultural group. A Hopi man, Allen describes a deer picture that was on a mesa near a Sun shrine at which men used to fire for target practice. The rock has since fallen down. Titiev comments, “Target practice only, and not mimetic magic seems to have interested the Hopi” (1972:125).Another site is also described on two large boulders near a trail.“On the face of one rock had been carved the pictographs of a reed (bakap), gun, vulva, and coyote head [Fig 13]. Ned [A Hopi man] said that these pictographs indicated that at this spot someone had detected a Bakap clansman having intercourse with a Coyote clanswoman” (Titiev 1972:151).
1963 Book of the Hopi. Penguin Books USA Inc.,
This book describes in detail pictographs from Pictograph Point and other places and explains the meanings of these markings as told to the author by a Hopi spokesman. There are drawings of the pictographs included with their explanations. Many of the pictographs are said to depict clan histories and interactions. Some indicate the location of villages and announce the people who lived there, (Waters 1963:49-66).It also mentions carving Kokopellis in relation to clan migrations, “When the people moved off on their migrations over the continent they carved pictographs of him on rocks all the way from the tip of South America up to Canada” (Waters 1963:38).