I purchased this beautiful Zuni log drum depicting the Shalako ceremony from the artist in December of 1991. Elisia and I were traveling through New Mexico on a cross-country tour, promoting my newly released book, The Shamanic Drum. By chance we happened upon the annual Shalako festival, which is a series of dances and ceremonies conducted by the Zuni people near the winter solstice in which they celebrate the return of the sun and pray for rain, growth, and fertility. Shalako is named for its masked dancers who embody kachinas or ancestral spirits. Kachinas mediate between humanity and the gods of rain and prosperity in a sacred ritual performance that ensures the transformation of winter's death into spring's rebirth. Standing ten-feet tall and resembling birds, the colorful Shalako kachinas dance rhythmically, clacking their long beaks together. They come to the human realm to collect the people's prayers and take them back to the spirit realm.