Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South / Edition 1

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"Illustrated with hundreds of new photographs and drawings, as well as with maps, site plans, and a chronology, this book presents exciting new information on the art, architecture, and deep-seated cultural themes of the ancient Native Americans in the midwestern and southeastern United States. Highlights include sculptures with a wide range of human and animal motifs, as well as composite imaginary creatures, abstract shapes, embellished vessels, implements, and ritual objects." The essays included here take innovative approaches, interpreting the symbolic imagery of distinct visual traditions and searching for widespread patterns of thought and worldview, some of which have survived into present-day tribal life. Such shared motifs as the "Hero," the "Hawk," and the "Open Hand" suggest a provocative and unexpected continuity of thought across time and geography in the ancient American world concerning themes of life, death, and renewal.
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Editorial Reviews

Christopher Benfey
The streamlined ''birdstones'' and ''boatstones'' (weights for spear throwers) from the Archaic period (circa 6000-500 B.C.) would have delighted Brancusi. Among the Hopewell artifacts cut from sheets of mica during the ''Woodland'' period (1000 B.C. to A.D. 1000) are a heartstopping talon of a bird of prey and an outstretched hand with bent thumb and elongated fingers. In such luminous objects there is, as the book notes, ''a suggestion of communication between the human community and the world of spirits beyond.''
The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300106015
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/27/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.26 (w) x 12.06 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard F. Townsend is curator of African and Amerindian art at The Art Institute of Chicago.
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Table of Contents

Map of the Midwest and South
American landscapes, seen and unseen 15
Thoughts on the preservation of traditional culture : an interview with Timmy Thompson 37
The archaeology of aesthetics 43
Hopewell art in Hopewell places 57
The Newark earthworks : monumental geometry and astronomy at a Hopewellian pilgrimage center 73
Continuity and change in Mississippian civilization 83
The Cahokia site and its people 93
The Cahokian expression : creating court and cult 105
People of earth, people of sky : visualizing the sacred in Native American art of the Mississippian period 125
Marking stone, land, body, and spirit : rock art and Mississippian iconography 139
Power and the sacred : mound C and the Etowah Chiefdom 151
Moundville art in historical and social context 167
Thoughts on the preservation of traditional culture : an interview with Joyce and Turner Bear 183
Art, ritual, and chiefly warfare in the Mississippian world 191
World on a string : some cosmological components of the southeastern ceremonial complex 207
Prehistoric art of the Central Mississippi Valley 219
The ancient art of Caddo ceramics 231
Caddo art : a personal perspective 247
The bread dance : a Shawnee ceremony of thanks and renewal 253
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