Indigenous Peoples of The Southeastern Woodlands - Visual Arts

Visual Arts

Belonging in the Lithic stage, the oldest known art in the Americas is the Vero Beach bone, possibly a mammoth bone, etched with a profile of walking mammoth that dates back to 11,000 BCE.

The Poverty Point culture inhabited portions of the state of Louisiana from 2000–1000 BCE during the Archaic period. Many objects excavated at Poverty Point sites were made of materials that originated in distant places, including chipped stone projectile points and tools, ground stone plummets, gorgets and vessels, and shell and stone beads. Stone tools found at Poverty Point were made from raw materials which originated in the relatively nearby Ouachita and Ozark Mountains and from the much further away Ohio and Tennessee River valleys. Vessels were made from soapstone which came from the Appalachian foothills of Alabama and Georgia. Hand-modeled lowly fired clay objects occur in a variety of shapes including anthropomophic figurines and cooking balls.

  • Clay cooking utensils, Poverty Point
  • Clay female figurines, Poverty Point
  • Carved gorgets and atlatl weights, Poverty Point

The Mississippian culture flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally. After adopting maize agriculture the Mississippian culture became fully agrarian, as opposed to the hunting and gathering supplemented by part-time agriculture practiced by preceding woodland cultures. They built platform mounds larger and more complex than those of their predecessors, and finished and developed more advanced ceramic techniques, commonly using ground mussel shell as a tempering agent. Many were involved with the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, a pan-regional and pan-linguistic religious and trade network. The majority of the information known about the S.E.C.C. is derived from examination of the elaborate artworks left behind by its participants, including elaborate pottery, shell gorgets and cups, stone statuary and Long-nosed god maskettes. By the time of European contact the Mississippian societies were already experiencing severe social stress, and with the social upsets and diseases introduced by Europeans many of the societies collapsed and ceased to practice a Mississippian lifestyle, with an exception being the Natchez people. Other tribes descended from Mississippian cultures include the Caddo, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek, Wichita, and many other southeastern peoples.

The Calusa peoples occupied the southern areas of Florida before European contact, and created carvings of animals.

The Seminoles are best known for their textile creations, especially patchwork clothing. Doll-making is another notable craft.

  • Engraved shell gorget, Spiro Mounds (Mississippian culture)
  • Ceremonial stone mace, Spiro Mounds (Mississippian culture)
  • Effigy head pot, Nodena Site (Mississippian culture)
  • Engraved stone palette, Moundville Site, back used for mixing paint (Mississippian culture)
  • Stone effigy pipe, Spiro Mounds (Mississippian culture)
  • Stone effigies, Etowah Site (Mississippian culture)
  • Ceramic underwater panther jug, Rose Mound (Mississippian culture)
  • Alligator effigy, wood carving, Calusa, Florida

Read more about this topic:  Indigenous Peoples Of The Southeastern Woodlands

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