Human Images and Blurring Boundaries. The Pueblo Body in Cosmological Context: Rock Art, Murals and Ceremonial Figures
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 February 2018
Images of the human form can be analysed for what they reveal about social roles, hierarchy, and other identities, as well as culturally determined perceptions about humanity's relationships to the natural environment and supernatural realm. It is proposed that the portrayal of the multitudinous human subjects related to religious ideology and practice in Rio Grande Tradition and Navajo rock art focuses on the interconnectedness of all things, deflecting meaning away from human beings as prime subjects as seen in Western religious art. Rather, informed by ethnographic data, the Native American abstracted, costumed forms, along with conflated human/animal subjects, define humanity's intimate link to the cosmos, and their added attributes evoke the supernatural strengths of other living beings, along with animated entities such as rain-clouds and the sun. These images themselves are perceived as active agents, attracting the pictured forces, sanctifying place and facilitating communication with resident spirits. What is pictured on stone extends to the performative dimensions of ethnographic contexts, thereby blurring the boundaries between the ceremonial participants, the representations and the animistic cosmos.
- Research Article
- Copyright © McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research 2018