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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of the United States : Pre-Columbian Art / Hopewell Green Slate Ceremonial Swastika
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Pre-Columbian Art / Hopewell Green Slate Ceremonial Swastika - PF.0335
Origin: The Mississipi Valley, USA
Circa: 200 BC to 200 AD
Dimensions: 12.25" (31.1cm) high x 12.25" (31.1cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Hopewell
Medium: Slate

Location: United States
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Around 100 B.C. the Hopewell people settled in the northern woodlands. By the first century A.D. their culture had flourished, influencing a wide area as far as the lower Mississippi. The society of the Hopewell, as well as other tribes, were essentially hierarchical--comprising a chief, ruling elite and high ranking shamans; all of whom required specialized objects for domestic and ritual use. Before the twentieth century, the swastika was a symbol of good luck found in cultures throughout the world. The word itself can be traced back to the Sanskrit word, “svasti,” meaning well-being. This stone swastika is composed of two snakes whose angular bodies overlap, imbuing this work with a greater, mythological essence. Clearly, this gorgeous work must have played a central role in a long forgotten ceremony one practiced by the Hopewell many centuries ago. Its polished surface and perfect balance attests to the carver's expertise in working with stone instruments. There is such elegance in this work it almost seems to be a result of an act of nature; though we can readily see the experienced hand of an artist who created something of power for the sake of his gods. - (PF.0335)


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