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Gorget: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
These large gorgets were carved out of conch shell traded all the way in from the Gulf Coast. Worn as chest ornaments, they were a marker of influence and standing in ancient Mississippian culture. Each has prominent celestial imagery, depicting important elements of the Above World. The sun is the chief divinity, represented in this realm by fire. The Hand and Eye motif signifies the constellation that marks the entrance to the Path of Souls in the sky, the Milky Way. Each has significant supernatural power, power that was extended to the individual wearing their symbol. Whether they indicated rank, membership in a special society, warrior status or something else is unknown, but the context in which they have been found, the expensive material and the high quality of the carvings confirm their role as prestige objects.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009