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"A superb book—and one that is long overdue…. A fine sampling of a unique native American artistic heritage is laid out before you, in text and in pictures, in this exciting book."--Gordon R. Willey, Peabody Museum, Harvard University
For thousands of years, the Indians of Florida created exquisite objects from the natural materials available to them--wood, bone, stone, clay, and shell. This stunning full-color book, the first devoted exclusively to the artistic achievements of the Florida aborigines, describes and pictures 116 of these masterpieces.
A brief history of the consequences of European infiltration and laterinvestigations by explorers and archaeologists sets the stage for consideration of the works themselves. They date from the Paleoindian period (ca. 9500-8000 BC) to the mid-16th century and include utilitarian creations, instruments of personal adornment and magic, objects indicating status, and those paying homage to ancestors or aiding the dead in their journey into the next world.
Because European explorers took little notice of the adornment of the Florida natives and the people themselves did not survive, no enduring artistic traditions prevail from this early period. This collection, a record of the quality and beauty of their art, includes representative objects in all media used and from all cultural periods, geographic areas, and environmental settings in which the pieces functioned.
Barbara A. Purdy is professor emerita in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Florida, curator emerita in archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, and author of How to Do Archaeology the Right Way (UPF, 1996) and The Art and Archaeology of Florida’s Wetlands (1991). Roy C. Craven, Jr., is professor of art emeritus, founding director of the University Gallery at the University of Florida, and author of Ceremonial Centers of the Maya (UPF, 1974) and A Concise History of Indian Art (1991).