Native American, Southeast or Midwest, Mississippian, ca. 900 to 1543 CE. A very large redware vessel, skillfully handbuilt via the coiling method and extensively engraved with iconography that includes 1s figures - both men and women - the males dressed in elaborate feathered headdresses with serpents adorning the front, 'beaded' and tasseled loincloths, extensive tattoos or body paint on their faces and bodies, 'beaded' chokers - the females wear caplike headdresses and are similarly decorated with beaded chokers and beaded/tasseled loin cloths, though they are topless. The figures are sexually engaged - whether this is consensual or not is difficult to decipher - and several of the figures are smoking or holding weapons. Size: 12.5" in diameter x 13.75" H (31.8 cm x 34.9 cm)
Artisans of Mississippian societies created extensively decorated pottery vessels in a broad range of forms, many made for ritual use. The iconography on these pieces offer intriguing glimpses of their cultural/religious beliefs and practices. Figures of humans and animals, such as bear, opossum, and rabbit, represent Middle World—the inhabited surface of the Earth. John House has identified exquisite examples of these images on Mississippian ceramic vessels from sites in the central Mississippi Valley.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) analysis and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: ex-private Amundson collection, Texas, USA, acquired prior to 1998
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Loss to upper neck/rim as shown. Vessel body is repaired from about 20 pieces with slight losses to break lines as shown. Expected surface wear with scuffs/nicks but imagery is still strong. Nice mineral deposits across the surface