Saturday, October 6, 2012

Art of the Hopewell Indians

The Hopewell Culture dominated the Ohio Valley from about 200 BCE to 500 CE. The Hopewell people lived in large villages in river valleys, they practiced a form of agriculture based on native North American plants (no maize or beans), and they built elaborate systems of earthworks at some of their ceremonial sites. They buried their elite dead with fabulous collections of artifacts. Above is a famous hand effigy made of mica, from the Hopewell mound group in Ohio.

Eagle platform pipe from Naples, Illinois, now in the Brooklyn Museum.

The Wray Figurine, showing a shaman in bear costume. From Newark, Ohio.

The Wray shaman has something carved on his lap that most people think is a human head. Is this the head of one of his great ancestors, from which he is drawing spiritual power? Or the head of an enemy over which he is gloating?

Falcon effigy, made of copper.

Small copper "maskette" or amulet.

Panther effigy pipe from Posey County, Indiana.

Beaver effigy pipe.

Mica bird talon from the Hopewell mound group.

The geometric mounds at Newark, Ohio.

And an artist's rendering of moonrise over the Newark Octagon, an event that occurs every 18.6 years.

For an interesting interpretation of Hopewell culture and politics, see here.

1 comment:

Matt said...

I teach in the public schools in Newark, Ohio, and its a pleasure to see the native culture of our area showcased! What are the source for these photos? I'm particularly interested in tracking down the person to credit for the bird talon photo--it's breathtaking!