ANCIENT OBJECTS AND SACRED REALMS INTERPRETATIONS OF MISSISSIPPIAN ICONOGRAPHY LINDA SCHELE SERIES IN MAYA AND PRE COLUMBIAN STUDIES

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Visualizing The Sacred

Author : George E. Lankford
ISBN : 9780292723085
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 39.68 MB
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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 book Ancient 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 Sacred advances 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.
Category: Social Science

Ancient Objects And Sacred Realms

Author : F. Kent Reilly, III
ISBN : 0292774400
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 28.3 MB
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Between AD 900-1600, the native peoples of the Mississippi River Valley and other areas of the Eastern Woodlands of the United States conceived and executed one of the greatest artistic traditions of the Precolumbian Americas. Created in the media of copper, shell, stone, clay, and wood, and incised or carved with a complex set of symbols and motifs, this seven-hundred-year-old artistic tradition functioned within a multiethnic landscape centered on communities dominated by earthen mounds and plazas. Previous researchers have referred to this material as the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC). This groundbreaking volume brings together ten essays by leading anthropologists, archaeologists, and art historians, who analyze the iconography of Mississippian art in order to reconstruct the ritual activities, cosmological vision, and ideology of these ancient precursors to several groups of contemporary Native Americans. Significantly, the authors correlate archaeological, ethnographic, and art historical data that illustrate the stylistic differences within Mississippian art as well as the numerous changes that occur through time. The research also demonstrates the inadequacy of the SECC label, since Mississippian art is not limited to the Southeast and reflects stylistic changes over time among several linked but distinct religious traditions. The term Mississippian Iconographic Interaction Sphere (MIIS) more adequately describes the corpus of this Mississippian art. Most important, the authors illustrate the overarching nature of the ancient Native American religious system, as a creation unique to the native American cultures of the eastern United States.
Category: Social Science

Picture Cave

Author : Carol Diaz-Granados
ISBN : STANFORD:36105213027654
Genre : History
File Size : 36.60 MB
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A millennia ago, Native Americans entered the dark recesses of a cave in eastern Missouri and painted an astonishing array of human, animal, and supernatural creatures on its walls. Known as Picture Cave, it was a hallowed site for sacred rituals and rites of passage, for explaining the multi-layered cosmos, for vision quests, for communing with spirits in the "other world," and for burying the dead. The number, variety, and complexity of images make Picture Cave one of the most significant prehistoric sites in North America, similar in importance to Cahokia and Chaco Canyon. Indeed, scholars will be able to use it to reconstruct much of the Native American symbolism of the early Western Mississippian world. The Picture Cave Interdisciplinary Project brought together specialists in American Indian art and iconography, two artists, Osage Indian elders, a museum curator, a folklorist, and an internationally renowned cave archaeologist to produce the first complete documentation of the pictographs on the cave walls and the first interpretations of their meanings and significance. This extensively illustrated volume presents the Project's findings, including an introduction to Picture Cave and prehistoric cave art and technical analyses of pigments, radiocarbon dating, spatial order, and archaeological remains. Interpretations of the cave's imagery, from individual motifs to complex panels; the responses of contemporary artists; and interviews with Osage elders (descendants of the people who made the art), describing what Picture Cave means to them today, are also included. A visual glossary of all the images in Picture Cave as well as panoramic views complete this pathfinding volume.
Category: History

Hero Hawk And Open Hand

Author : Richard F. Townsend
ISBN : 9780300106015
Genre : Art
File Size : 81.40 MB
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Along the Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers, the archaeological remains of earthen pyramids, plazas, large communities, and works of art and artifacts testify to Native American civilizations that thrived there between 3000 B.C. and A.D. 1500. This fascinating book presents exciting new information on the art and cultures of these ancient peoples and features hundreds of gorgeous photographs of important artworks, artifacts, and ritual objects excavated from Amerindian archaeological sites. Drawing on excavation findings and extensive research, the contributors to the book document a succession of distinct ancient populations in the pre-Columbian world of the American Midwest and Southeast. A team of interdisciplinary scholars examines the connections between archaeological remains of different regions and the themes, forms, and rituals that continue in specific tribes of today. The book also includes the personal reflections of contemporary Native Americans who discuss their perspectives on the significance of the fascinating and beautiful prehistoric artifacts as well as their own cultural practices today.
Category: Art

Star Gods Of The Maya

Author : Susan Milbrath
ISBN : 9780292778511
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 44.29 MB
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Observations of the sun, moon, planets, and stars played a central role in ancient Maya lifeways, as they do today among contemporary Maya who maintain the traditional ways. This pathfinding book reconstructs ancient Maya astronomy and cosmology through the astronomical information encoded in Precolumbian Maya art and confirmed by the current practices of living Maya peoples. Susan Milbrath opens the book with a discussion of modern Maya beliefs about astronomy, along with essential information on naked-eye observation. She devotes subsequent chapters to Precolumbian astronomical imagery, which she traces back through time, starting from the Colonial and Postclassic eras. She delves into many aspects of the Maya astronomical images, including the major astronomical gods and their associated glyphs, astronomical almanacs in the Maya codices [painted books], and changes in the imagery of the heavens over time. This investigation yields new data and a new synthesis of information about the specific astronomical events and cycles recorded in Maya art and architecture. Indeed, it constitutes the first major study of the relationship between art and astronomy in ancient Maya culture.
Category: Social Science

The Jaguar Within

Author : Rebecca R. Stone
ISBN : 9780292749504
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 73.68 MB
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Shamanism—the practice of entering a trance state to experience visions of a reality beyond the ordinary and to gain esoteric knowledge—has been an important part of life for indigenous societies throughout the Americas from prehistoric times until the present. Much has been written about shamanism in both scholarly and popular literature, but few authors have linked it to another significant visual realm—art. In this pioneering study, Rebecca R. Stone considers how deep familiarity with, and profound respect for, the extra-ordinary visionary experiences of shamanism profoundly affected the artistic output of indigenous cultures in Central and South America before the European invasions of the sixteenth century. Using ethnographic accounts of shamanic trance experiences, Stone defines a core set of trance vision characteristics, including enhanced senses, ego dissolution, bodily distortions, flying, spinning and undulating sensations, synaesthesia, and physical transformation from the human self into animal and other states of being. Stone then traces these visionary characteristics in ancient artworks from Costa Rica and Peru. She makes a convincing case that these works, especially those of the Moche, depict shamans in a trance state or else convey the perceptual experience of visions by creating deliberately chaotic and distorted conglomerations of partial, inverted, and incoherent images.
Category: Social Science

Maya Intellectual Renaissance

Author : Victor D. Montejo
ISBN : 9780292778658
Genre : History
File Size : 76.86 MB
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When Mayan leaders protested the celebration of the Quincentenary of the "discovery" of America and joined with other indigenous groups in the Americas to proclaim an alternate celebration of 500 years of resistance, they rose to national prominence in Guatemala. This was possible in part because of the cultural, political, economic, and religious revitalization that occurred in Mayan communities in the later half of the twentieth century. Another result of the revitalization was Mayan students' enrollment in graduate programs in order to reclaim the intellectual history of the brilliant Mayan past. Victor Montejo was one of those students. This is the first book to be published outside of Guatemala where a Mayan writer other than Rigoberta Menchu discusses the history and problems of the country. It collects essays Montejo has written over the past ten years that address three critical issues facing Mayan peoples today: identity, representation, and Mayan leadership. Montejo is deeply invested in furthering the discussion of the effectiveness of Mayan leadership because he believes that self-evaluation is necessary for the movement to advance. He also criticizes the racist treatment that Mayans experience, and advocates for the construction of a more pluralistic Guatemala that recognizes cultural diversity and abandons assimilation. This volume maps a new political alternative for the future of the movement that promotes inter-ethnic collaboration alongside a reverence for Mayan culture.
Category: History

Signs Of The Inka Khipu

Author : Gary Urton
ISBN : 9780292773752
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 87.36 MB
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In an age when computers process immense amounts of information by the manipulation of sequences of 1s and 0s, it remains a frustrating mystery how prehistoric Inka recordkeepers encoded a tremendous variety and quantity of data using only knotted and dyed strings. Yet the comparison between computers and khipu may hold an important clue to deciphering the Inka records. In this book, Gary Urton sets forth a pathbreaking theory that the manipulation of fibers in the construction of khipu created physical features that constitute binary-coded sequences which store units of information in a system of binary recordkeeping that was used throughout the Inka empire. Urton begins his theory with the making of khipu, showing how at each step of the process binary, either/or choices were made. He then investigates the symbolic components of the binary coding system, the amount of information that could have been encoded, procedures that may have been used for reading the khipu, the nature of the khipu signs, and, finally, the nature of the khipu recording system itself—emphasizing relations of markedness and semantic coupling. This research constitutes a major step forward in building a unified theory of the khipu system of information storage and communication based on the sum total of construction features making up these extraordinary objects.
Category: Social Science

Sun Circles And Human Hands

Author : Emma Lila Fundaburk
ISBN : 9780817310776
Genre : History
File Size : 89.80 MB
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From utilitarian arrowheads to beautiful stone effigy pipes to ornately-carved shell disks, the photographs and drawings in Sun Circles and Human Hands present the archaeological record of the art and native crafts of the prehistoric southeastern Indians, painstakingly compiled in the 1950s by two sisters who traveled the eastern United States interviewing archaeologists and collectors and visiting the major repositories. Although research over the last 50 years has disproven many of the early theories reported in the text—which were not the editors' theories but those of the archaeologists of the day—the excellent illustrations of objects no longer available for examination have more than validated the lasting worth of this popular book.
Category: History

Heaven And Earth In Ancient Mexico

Author : Susan Milbrath
ISBN : 9780292743731
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 56.37 MB
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The Codex Borgia, a masterpiece that predates the Spanish conquest of central Mexico, records almanacs used in divination and astronomy. Within its beautifully painted screenfold pages is a section (pages 29–46) that shows a sequence of enigmatic pictures that have been the subject of debate for more than a century. Bringing insights from ethnohistory, anthropology, art history, and archaeoastronomy to bear on this passage, Susan Milbrath presents a convincing new interpretation of Borgia 29–46 as a narrative of noteworthy astronomical events that occurred over the course of the year AD 1495–1496, set in the context of the central Mexican festival calendar. In contrast to scholars who have interpreted Borgia 29–46 as a mythic history of the heavens and the earth, Milbrath demonstrates that the narrative documents ancient Mesoamericans' understanding of real-time astronomy and natural history. Interpreting the screenfold's complex symbols in light of known astronomical events, she finds that Borgia 29–46 records such phenomena as a total solar eclipse in August 1496, a November meteor shower, a comet first sighted in February 1496, and the changing phases of Venus and Mercury. She also shows how the narrative is organized according to the eighteen-month festival calendar and how seasonal cycles in nature are represented in its imagery. This new understanding of the content and purpose of the Codex Borgia reveals this long-misunderstood narrative as the most important historical record of central Mexican astronomy on the eve of the Spanish conquest.
Category: Social Science