from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An opening somewhere in the Grand Cañon of the Colorado, according to the legends of the Hopi, through which they reached the surface of the earth; also, its symbolic representation on altars, kivas, and other objects.


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  • In all the Society's Chaco Canyon investigations no kiva-floor hole was found that could positively be identified as a sipapu except, possibly, that in Kiva Q.

    The Architecture of Pueblo Bonito :

  • Taken from the Navajo language, it was called a "sipapu" and was assumed t o be symbolic of the opening through which the ancients had been said to move from the destroyed underworld to this one.} {\f35\fs24\insrsid1403488\charrsid14493608

    A Rock in the Baltic

  • The East Kiva on Chimney Rock, which seems so isolated and alone, is undeniably Chaco-like in its lack of a sipapu, its low logenclosed pilasters, its west-side vault, and a subfloor ventilating system that was rebuilt to the original plan when the floor was raised.

    The Architecture of Pueblo Bonito :

  • They lack the deep, above-bench south banquette of Mesa Verde kivas and they lack the sipapu.

    The Architecture of Pueblo Bonito :

  • Each of the nine was provided with a lateral, above-floor ventilator; the sipapu was present in five and absent in four; the deep south banquette appeared in two only, those at Site 11 and in Unit 2, Site 13.

    The Architecture of Pueblo Bonito :

  • II kivas at Site 16, Mesa Verde National Park, each provided with sipapu and lateral ventilator.

    The Architecture of Pueblo Bonito :

  • With the sipapu an almost constant feature and base slabs overlain by coursed masonry occurring more frequently than is customary for their kind, the

    The Architecture of Pueblo Bonito :

  • Some had a sipapu or possible sipapu; 3 (B, E, M) were lined at floor edge with 2-inchdiameter posts, upright or leaning inward; one (H) had a threequarter bench and upright posts at the rear of it.

    The Architecture of Pueblo Bonito :

  • Led by their chief, bearing the insignia of the Antelope fraternity and the whizzer, followed by the asperger, with his medicine bowl and aspergill and wearing a chaplet of green cottonwood leaves on his long, glossy, black hair, they circle the plaza four times, each time stamping heavily on the sipapu board with the right foot, as a signal to the spirits of the underworld that they are about to begin the ceremony.

    The Unwritten Literature of the Hopi

  • We are told that when all mankind came through the sipapu from the underworld, the various kinds of people were gathered together and given each a separate speech or language by the mocking bird, "who can talk every way."

    The Unwritten Literature of the Hopi


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  • Hole in the floor of a kiva symbolizing the hole from which people entered this world from the previous. A sort of omphalos. (Also sípapu.)

    January 18, 2008