Visualizing the Sacred: Cosmic Visions, Regionalism, and the Art of the Mississippian World

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-01-15
  • Publisher: Univ of Texas Pr
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The prehistoric native peoples of the Mississippi River Valley and other areas of the Eastern Woodlands of the United States shared a complex set of symbols and motifs that constituted one of the greatest artistic traditions of the pre-Columbian Americas. Traditionally known as the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, these artifacts of copper, shell, stone, clay and wood were the subject of the groundbreaking 2007 bookAncient Objects and Sacred Realms: Interpretations of Mississippian Iconography, which presented a major reconstruction of the rituals, cosmology, ideology and political structures of the Mississippian peoples.Visualizing the Sacredadvances the study of Mississippian iconography by delving into the regional variations within what is now known as the Mississippian Iconographic Interaction Sphere (MIIS). Bringing archaeological, ethnographic, ethnohistoric and iconographic perspectives to the analysis of Mississippian art, contributors from several disciplines discuss variations in symbols and motifs among major sites and regions across a wide span of time and also consider what visual symbols reveal about elite status in diverse political environments. These findings represent the first formal identification of style regions within the Mississippian Iconographic Interaction Sphere and call for a new understanding of the MIIS as a network of localized, yet interrelated religious systems that experienced both continuity and change over time.

Author Biography

George E. Lankford is an emeritus professor of folklore at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. His books include Looking for Lost Lore: Studies in Folklore, Ethnology, and Iconography and Reachable Stars: Patterns in the Ethnoastronomy of Eastern North America. F. Kent Reilly III and James E. Garber are faculty members at Texas State University-San Marcos. Reilly is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for the Arts and Symbolism of Ancient America and the author of many articles describing the ancient Olmec culture of Mesoamerica. Garber is Professor of Anthropology and has published several books and articles on the Maya of Central America. Together, they coedited Ancient object and Sacred Realms: Interpretations of Mississippian Iconography.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. x
Introductionp. xi
General Studies
Regional Approaches to Iconographic Artp. 3
The Cosmology of the Osage: The Star People and Their Universep. 18
Regional Studies: Middle Mississippi Valley
The Regional Culture Signature of the Braden Art Stylep. 37
Early Manifestations of Mississippian Iconography in Middle Mississippi Valley Rock-Artp. 64
Regional Studies: Lower Mississippi Valley
Mississippian Ceramic Art in the Lower Mississippi Valley: A Thematic Overviewp. 99
The Great Serpent in the Lower Mississippi Valleyp. 118
Regional Studies: Cumberland Valley
Iconography of the Thruston Tabletp. 137
Woman in the Patterned Shawl: Female Effigy Vessels and Figurines from the Middle Cumberland River Basinp. 177
Regional Studies: Moundville
A Redefinition of the Hemphill Style in Mississippian Artp. 201
The Raptor on the Pathp. 240
The Swirl-Cross and the Centerp. 251
Regional Studies: Etowah and Upper Tennessee Valley
Iconography of the Hightower Region of Eastern Tennessee and Northern Georgiap. 279
Dancing in the Otherworld: The Human Figural Art of the Hightower Style Revisitedp. 294
Raptor Imagery at Etowah: The Raptor Is the Path to Powerp. 313
Bibliographyp. 321
Contributorsp. 347
Indexp. 349
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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