Shulawitsi is similar to the Hopi Fire God kachina but different. In Zuni, he comes out at the Shalako festival, in December, usually played by a young, pre-pubescent boy.
He carries a bundle of kindling, symbolizing his important role as a caretaker of this important element.
His all-over black color is symbolic of charred wood; multi-colored dots signify sparks, and the feathers represent prayers.
He appears, responsible for lighting fires prior to the Shalako ceremony. The lighting of these fires is the signal for the Shalako to appear, commencing the winter solstice ceremony.
This representation of the Shulawitsi is quite elaborate, using many realistic materials, as well as paint.
This style was especially prominent during the 1970s and ’80s; the time this piece was carved, judging by the price, too.
He has a fancy necklace of turquoise shards, with beads representing coral, clamshell, and turquoise the traditional colors and materials.
A similar, turquoise ketoh bracelet decorates one wrist.
The other hand holds a bundle of sticks, kindling to set his fires. A real rabbit fur is slung around one shoulder.
His kilt is made of black yarn, held by a turquoise-hued felt band., and more bits of yarn adorn his head and a wrist. Moccasins are painted.
Always colorful, this rendering of the Zuni Fire God is especially embellished.
He is a decorative addition to your kachina collection, and a wonderful bargain, too.