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Raptors in Precolumbian North America: an Ontology of Art



My colleague Prof Robert J. Wallis edited a new collection of essays on the relationships between humans and birds of prey. His request for my contribution was dutifully accepted, and in record time he published the volume in which I have a chapter.

It is called Raptors in Precolumbian North America: an Ontology of Art. In it I examine Mississippian material from the 14th c. which features falcon imagery. The essay argues that Native artists/ritual practitioners decorated special materials with such iconography due to characteristics that enabled them to conjure up the beings they represented. This idea is aligned with a body of research into the materiality of iconography, one in which pictures are more than the things they represent. Though the essay contributes the specialism of the book, it is also an addition to my own research on how images become manifestations if ritually activated.






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