Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand


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American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South

Edited by Richard F. Townsend


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Along the Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers, the archaeological remains of earthen pyramids, plazas, large communities, and works of art and artifacts testify to Native American civilizations that thrived there between 3000 B.C. and A.D. 1500. This fascinating book presents exciting new information on the art and cultures of these ancient peoples and features hundreds of gorgeous photographs of important artworks, artifacts, and ritual objects excavated from Amerindian archaeological sites.

Drawing on excavation findings and extensive research, the contributors to the book document a succession of distinct ancient populations in the pre-Columbian world of the American Midwest and Southeast. A team of interdisciplinary scholars examines the connections between archaeological remains of different regions and the themes, forms, and rituals that continue in specific tribes of today. The book also includes the personal reflections of contemporary Native Americans who discuss their perspectives on the significance of the fascinating and beautiful prehistoric artifacts as well as their own cultural practices today.

Richard F. Townsend is curator of African and Amerindian art at The Art Institute of Chicago.


Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (June to September, 2005).

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (June to September, 2005)

“The author of this stunning large-format book has assembled an impressive collection of 19 essays that cover the whole array of Naïve American art and archaeology in the Midwestern and Southern United States from about 3500 B.C. to European conquest in the 1500s. Written by leading archaeologists, art historians, and tribal scholars, these essays tell the dramatic story of a fantastic artistic tradition that is little known in the country . . . A beautifully designed book. . . . The authors’ interpretations give added meaning to the extraordinary works of art, and place them in an historical and archaeological context that covers the entire 5,000-year period. Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand is an outstanding addition to the literature of ancient America.”—American Archaeology

“Stunning photography and a wealth of commentary make this a must for both private and public libraries.”—Art Times

“This book successfully promotes [the] existence and significance [of largely unknown societies]. . . . The project [is] one of national cooperation and significance. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice

ISBN: 9780300106015
Publication Date: October 11, 2004
Publishing Partner: Published in association with The Art Institute of Chicago
288 pages, 9 x 12
120 b/w + 320 color illus.
Indian Art of the Americas at the Art Institute of Chicago

Richard Townsend; With contributions by Elizabeth Pope

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