Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms: Interpretations of Mississippian Iconography

Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms: Interpretations of Mississippian Iconography

Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms: Interpretations of Mississippian Iconography

Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms: Interpretations of Mississippian Iconography

Synopsis

This edited work brings together ten essays, analysing 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.

Excerpt

From time to time, a book appears that completely changes the landscape in a field of study. This is such a book. For more than sixty years, scholars have tried to make sense of the corpus of pre-Columbian art known as the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC) or “Southern Cult.” the studies presented in these pages sketch out a new paradigm for understanding this imagery, a paradigm that is based on rigorous methods and is deeply grounded in American Indian ethnography. the new interpretation that emerges sees these images not as depictions of “real-world” actors and rituals, but rather as representations of a larger, multilayered cosmos populated by heroes and supernatural beings whose exploits and powers were widely known by Indian peoples throughout eastern North America.

This book took shape through a series of workshops that were organized by Kent Reilly in the 1990s. Having been trained as a Mesoamerican archaeologist by the late Linda Schele, Reilly had experienced firsthand the breakthroughs in deciphering Maya iconography and script that happened during the 1970s and 1980s. He reasoned that the same methods might lead to similar breakthroughs in North American archaeology, so he decided to give them a try.

A key factor in the Mesoamerican advances had been the annual Maya Meetings hosted by Schele at the University of Texas in Austin. These advanced workshops would bring together a relatively small group of scholars with diverse perspectives, who would spend the better part of a week working intensively on a set of specific problems. Reilly adopted this model for attacking the problems of the secc. the first of his workshops was held in March of 1993, in conjunction with the Maya meetings in Austin. Two years later, in 1995, the secc workshop moved to Texas State University-San Marcos and took on its own identity as the Texas State Mississippian Iconography Conference. One hallmark of these workshops has been the diversity of participants: archaeologists, folklorists, art historians, anthropologists, and Native religious practitioners all . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.