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

Synopsis

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.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • F. Kent Reilly III
  • James F. Garber
  • George E. Lankford
  • James R. Duncan
  • James A. Brown
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Austin, TX
Publication year:
  • 2011