By Mary W. Helms

ISBN-10: 0826315887

ISBN-13: 9780826315885

This quantity brings a clean standpoint to the multicolored Cocl? ceramic wares excavated at Sitio Conte in significant Panama in the course of the Thirties. The Cocl? tradition used to be a hierarchical and centralized society that flourished a couple of thousand years in the past. Many of those ceramic wares have been unearthed in caches and burials of elite figures. Cocl? artists adorned their ceramics with a mix of geometrical varieties and full of life, photograph depictions of curious birds and beasts. Helms sees in those polychromes a semiotic code expressing sociological and cosmological recommendations of the Cocl? tradition. person chapters discover chromatics, serpents, mammals, birds and chicken, physique components and methods, the tree of existence, and different issues. This quantity is handsomely illustrated with black-and-white and colour plates and dozens of line drawings.

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Extra info for Creations of the rainbow serpent: polychrome ceramic designs from ancient Panama

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Conceivably the Panamanian symbolism contains certain structural inversions of South American materials. , hurricanes, as noted above). Lévi-Strauss has noted, in passing, that structural contrasts can be found when certain contemporary Kuna (Panama) myths dealing with the origins of cooking fire are compared to their tropical South American counterparts (1969:138, note 15). Similarly, Bozzoli de Wille and Cubero have independently recognized certain structural inversions in Page 20 Talamancan mythemes from southeastern Costa Rica when compared with northern South American myths (1988; see also chap.

If in fact color coding, that is to say chromatics, carries some fundamental symbolic significance in this art as, judging from the careful symmetries and patternings in its use, it seems to do, we may look again at the ovals and rectangles of the serpentine body form and ask whether ovals, all being the same color (in this case purple), express a particular quality different from that accorded to rectangles, which are all a contrasting red. Fig. 9 suggests there is a difference. The design on the bowl of the vessel appears to depict a sinuous serpent body with plain-colored rectangular panels alternating with figured rectangles out of which legged and head-crested creatures emerge.

Page 11 Lévi-Strauss illustrates his interpretation with reference to a common theme in native South American myths regarding the original creation of the distinctive colors and sounds (calls) of various birds and animals which allow them to be clearly differentiated from one another ''zoologically" and thus to serve as statements of zoological/cosmological order. The myths derive these distinctive calls and markings from a prior condition of formlessness or shapelessness or fateful disjunction.

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Creations of the rainbow serpent: polychrome ceramic designs from ancient Panama by Mary W. Helms


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