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Title: Ancient Pottery of the Mississippi Valley - Fourth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the - Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1882-83, - Government Printing Office, Washington, 1886, pages 361-436
Author: Holmes, William Henry, 1846-1933
Language: English
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  Introductory                                       367
  Ceramic groups                                     369
    Middle Mississippi province                      369
        Distribution                                 369
        How found                                    370
        Age                                          371
        Use                                          371
        Construction                                 372
        Material                                     372
        Color                                        373
        Form                                         373
        Finish                                       373
        Modification of shape                        373
        Relief ornament                              374
        Intaglio designs                             374
        Designs in color                             374
        Classification of forms                      375
      Bowls                                          376
        Form                                         376
        Illustrations                                378
        Eccentric forms                              380
        Life forms                                   383
      Pot-shaped vessels                             392
        Material                                     393
        Form                                         393
        Handles                                      393
        Illustrations                                394
      Wide-mouthed bottles or jars                   398
        Form                                         399
        Illustrations                                399
        Eccentric forms                              403
        Life forms                                   404
      High-necked bottles                            411
        Form                                         411
        Illustrations                                413
        Eccentric forms                              420
        Life forms                                   422
    Upper Mississippi province                       426
    Gulf province                                    431
    Résumé                                           434


  FIG. 361.--Scale of forms                          376
       362.--Forms of bowls                          376
       363.--Rim modification                        377
       364.--Bowl: Arkansas                          378
       365.--Bowl: Arkansas                          378
       366.--Cup: Arkansas                           379
       367.--Bowl: Arkansas                          379
       368.--Bowl: Arkansas                          380
       369.--Cup: Arkansas                           380
       370.--Cup: Arkansas                           380
       371.--Rectangular bowl: Arkansas              381
       372.--Burial casket: Tennessee                381
       373.--Trough-shaped vessel: Arkansas          382
       374.--Clay vessels imitating shell            384
       375.--Bowl imitating a conch shell            384
       376.--Frog-shaped bowl: Arkansas              385
       377.--Frog-shaped bowl: Arkansas              385
       378.--Animal-shaped bowl: Arkansas            385
       379.--Bird-shaped bowl: Arkansas              386
       380.--Bird-shaped bowl: Arkansas              386
       381.--Bird-shaped bowl: Arkansas              387
       382.--Bowl with grotesque heads: Arkansas     387
       383.--Heads of birds                          388
       384.--Grotesque heads                         388
       385.--Bowl with grotesque head: Arkansas      389
       386.--Bowl with grotesque head: Arkansas      389
       387.--Bowl with grotesque handle: Arkansas    390
       388.--Animal-shaped bowl: Arkansas            390
       389.--Animal-shaped bowl: Arkansas            391
       390.--Bowl with bat's head: Arkansas          392
       391.--Bowl: Arkansas                          392
       392.--Forms of pots                           393
       393.--Handles                                 393
       394.--Pot: Arkansas                           394
       395.--Pot: Arkansas                           395
       396.--Pot: Tennessee                          395
       397.--Pot: Arkansas                           395
       398.--Pot: Arkansas                           395
       399.--Pot: Alabama                            396
       400.--Pot: Arkansas                           396
       401.--Pot: Arkansas                           396
       402.--Pot: Arkansas                           396
       403.--Pot: Arkansas                           397
       404.--Pot: Tennessee                          397
       405.--Pot: Arkansas                           398
       406.--Forms of jar-shaped bottles             399
       407.--Bottle: Arkansas                        399
       408.--Bottle: Arkansas                        400
       409.--Bottle: Arkansas                        400
       410.--Engraved bottle: Arkansas               401
       411.--Engraved bottle: Arkansas               401
       412.--Engraved design                         402
       413.--Teapot-shaped vessel: Arkansas          403
       414.--Vessel of eccentric form: Arkansas      403
       415.--Vessel of eccentric form: Arkansas      404
       416.--Animal-shaped vase: Arkansas            404
       417.--Sun-fish vase: Arkansas                 405
       418.--Opossum vase: Arkansas                  405
       419.--Animal-shaped vase: Arkansas            406
       420.--Head-shaped vase: Arkansas              407
       421.--Engraved figures                        408
       422.--Head covering                           408
       423.--Head-shaped vase: Arkansas              409
       424.--Head-shaped vase: Arkansas              410
       425.--Scale of forms                          411
       426.--Tripods                                 411
       427.--Stands                                  412
       428.--Compound forms of vessels               412
       429.--Adaptation of the human form            412
       430.--Bottle: Tennessee                       413
       431.--Gourd-shaped vessel: Tennessee          413
       432.--Bottle: Arkansas                        414
       433.--Bottle: Arkansas                        414
       434.--Bottle: Arkansas                        415
       435.--Engraved bottle: Arkansas               416
       436.--Bottle: Arkansas                        417
       437.--Bottle: Arkansas                        417
       438.--Bottle: Arkansas                        418
       439.--Fluted bottle: Arkansas                 419
       440.--Engraved bottle: Arkansas               419
       441.--Tripod bottle: Arkansas                 420
       442.--Tripod bottle: Arkansas                 421
       443.--Tripod bottle: Arkansas                 421
       444.--Bottle of eccentric form: Arkansas      422
       445.--Owl-shaped bottle: Arkansas             422
       446.--Bear-shaped bottle: Tennessee           423
       447.--Bear-shaped bottle: Arkansas            423
       448.--Bottle with human head: Arkansas        424
       449.--Bottle with human head: Arkansas        424
       450.--Bottle with human head: Arkansas        424
       451.--Bottle with human head: Arkansas        424
       452.--Bottle with human head: Arkansas        425
       453.--Position of feet                        425
       454.--Bottle with human form: Arkansas        426
       455.--Bottle with human form: Arkansas        426
       456.--Vase: Iowa                              428
       457.--Vase: Wisconsin                         429
       458.--Vase: Illinois                          430
       459.--Cup: Alabama                            431
       460.--Bowl: Alabama                           432
       461.--Bottle: Mississippi                     432
       462.--Bottle: Alabama                         433
       463.--Painted design                          434




This paper is the third of a series of preliminary studies of
aboriginal ceramic art which are intended to be absorbed into a final
work of a comprehensive character.

The groups of relics selected for these studies are in all cases of
limited extent, and are such as can lay claim to a considerable degree
of completeness. It is true that no series of archæologic objects can
ever be considered complete, but in exceptional cases the sources
of supply may be so thoroughly explored that the development of new
features of importance cannot reasonably be expected. If any series of
American ceramic products has reached such a condition, it is that of
the middle portions of the Mississippi Valley; yet, even in this case,
I consider it unwise to attempt a monographic study, and prefer
to single out a particular collection, making it the subject of a
thorough investigation.

When the idea of preparing such a paper was first conceived, the
collection presenting the greatest advantages was that of the Academy
of Natural Sciences at Davenport, Iowa, which was, therefore, chosen.
Other museums, especially those at Cambridge, Saint Louis, and
Washington, were rich in material from this region, but none of these
collections were so homogeneous and satisfactory.

The National Museum has recently received important accessions from
the Mississippi Valley, through the agency of the Bureau of Ethnology,
and ere the publication of this paper will probably excel all others
in the number and variety of its mound relics. Some of its material
has already been published by Dr. Charles Rau, Prof. C. C. Jones, Dr.
Joseph Jones, and myself, and several additional examples are given in
this paper.

Professor F. W. Putnam has described and illustrated many pieces
belonging to the Peabody Museum, and Professor W. B. Potter and
Dr. Edward Evers have issued an important work on the Saint Louis
collections, in Contributions to the Archæology of Missouri.

This study is intended to pave the way to a thorough classification of
the multitude of relics, and to the discovery of a method of procedure
suited to a broad and exhaustive treatment of the ceramic art.

I do not expect to discuss ethnical questions, although ceramic
studies will eventually be of assistance in determining the
distribution and migrations of peoples, and in fixing the chronology
of very remote events in the history of pottery-making races.

Some of the results of my studies of the evolutionary phase of the
subject are embodied in an accompanying paper upon the "Origin and
Development of Form and Ornament," and a second paper will soon
follow. Before the final work is issued I hope to make close studies
of all the principal collections, public and private. In such a work
the importance of great numbers of examples cannot be overestimated.
Facts can be learned from a few specimens, but relationships and
principles can only be derived from the study of multitudes.

I shall probably have occasion to modify many of the views advanced in
these preliminary papers, but it is only by pushing out such advance
guards that the final goal can be reached.

Since the original issue of this paper in the Proceedings of the
Davenport Academy of Sciences, a careful revision of the text has been
made and much additional matter and a number of illustrations have
been added.

I wish in this place to express my obligations to the officers and
members of the Davenport Academy of Sciences, and especially to Mrs.
M. L. D. Putnam and Prof. W. H. Pratt, whose generous aid has been of
the greatest service to me.


In studying the collections from the Mississippi Valley, I find it
convenient to classify the ceramic products in three great groups,
which belong to as many pretty well-defined districts; these I have
named, for convenience of treatment, the Upper Mississippi, the
Middle Mississippi, and the Lower Mississippi or Gulf provinces. Other
pottery occurs within the limits of these areas, but the examples
found in the museums are so few that very little of importance can be
learned from them.

The three groups enumerated are not equally represented. The great
body of our collections is from the middle province. The ware of
the Lower Mississippi or Gulf district, of which we have but a small
number of pieces, has many features in common with the pottery of the
middle district, and at the same time is identical in most respects
with that of the Gulf coast to the east. No well-defined line can be
drawn between them; but the ware of the north is wholly distinct and
need never be confounded with the other groups.


DISTRIBUTION.--It must not be inferred that there is perfect
uniformity in the pottery of this, or any other, extended region;
local peculiarities are always to be found. The products of contiguous
districts, such, for example, as those of Mississippi County,
Arkansas, and New Madrid County, Missouri, have much in common, and
will at once be recognized as belonging to the same family, yet the
differences are so marked that the unskilled observer could point them
out with ease.

As indicated by decided family resemblances, the wares of this group
extend over the greater part of the States of Missouri, Arkansas,
and Tennessee, cover large portions of Mississippi, Kentucky, and
Illinois, and reach somewhat into Iowa, Indiana, Alabama, Louisiana,
and Texas. The types are better marked and the products more abundant
about the center of this area, which may be defined roughly as
including contiguous parts of Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee, with
a pretty decided focal center, at least in the abundance of relics, at
Pecan Point, Arkansas.

The borders of the district are necessarily not clearly defined.
The characters of the art products blend more or less with those of
neighboring sections. This is a usual phenomenon, and is probably
due to a variety of causes. The mere contact of peoples leads to the
exchange of ideas, and, consequently, to similarities in the products
of industry. A change of habitat, with its consequent change of
environment, is capable of modifying art to a great extent. Groups of
relics and remains attributed by archæologists to distinct stocks of
people, may, in cases, be the work of one and the same people executed
under the influence of different environments and at widely separated
periods of time.

Mixed conditions in the remains of a locality are often due to the
presence of different peoples, synchronously or otherwise. This occurs
in many places on the outskirts of this district, a good illustration
being found in East Tennessee, where three or four distinct groups
of ware are intermingled. As would naturally be expected, the
distribution is governed somewhat by the great water-ways, and pottery
of this province is found far up the Ohio, Tennessee, and Arkansas

HOW FOUND.--All peoples have resorted, at some period of their
history, to the practice of burying articles of use or value with the
dead. It is to this custom that we owe the preservation of so many
entire pieces of these fragile utensils. They are exhumed from burial
mounds in great numbers, and to an equal extent, perhaps, from simple,
unmarked graves which are constantly being brought to light by the
plowshare. Fragmentary ware is found also in refuse heaps, on house
and village sites, and scattered broadcast over the face of the land.

This pottery, at its best, was probably not greatly superior in
hardness to our own soft earthenware, and the disintegrating agencies
of the soil have often reduced it to a very fragile state. Some writer
has expressed the belief that a considerable portion of the ware of
this province was sun-baked merely. This view is hardly a safe
one, however, as clay, unmixed with lime or other like indurating
ingredient, no matter how long exposed to the rays of the sun, would,
from ages of contact with the moist earth, certainly return to its
original condition. I have seen but few pieces that, even after the
bleaching of centuries, did not show traces of the dark mottlings that
result from imperfect firing. There probably was a period of unbaked
clay preceding the terra-cotta epoch, but we cannot expect to find
definite traces of its existence except, perhaps, in cases where large
masses, such as mounds or fortifications, were employed.

The relations of the various articles of pottery to the bodies with
which they were associated seem to be quite varied. The position of
each vessel was determined by its contents, by its symbolic use, or by
the pleasure of the depositor. Uniformity cannot be expected in
this more than in other features of burial. In other sections of the
country the pieces of pottery are said to have been broken before
final inhumation took place, but such was certainly not the practice
in this province.

AGE.--There can be no reasonable doubt that the manufacture of this
ware began many centuries before the advent of the white race, but it
is equally certain that the art was extensively practiced until quite
recent times. The early explorers of Louisiana saw it in use, and the
processes of manufacture are described by Dumont and others.

Possibly Du Pratz had in mind some of the identical vessels now
upon our museum shelves when he said that "the women make pots of an
extraordinary size, jars with a medium-sized opening, bowls, two-pint
bottles with long necks, pots or jugs for containing bear's oil, which
hold as much as forty pints, and finally plates and dishes in the
French fashion."[1]

Vessels were certainly made in great numbers by the Natchez and other
tribes within our period, and it is reasonable to suppose that they
belonged to the great group under discussion. If not, it will be
necessary to seek the cause of their total disappearance, since, as
I have already said, the pottery of this district, as shown by the
relics, is practically a unit.

The introduction of metal utensils was a death-blow to the native
industry, although some of the southern tribes, the Cherokees, for
example, seem to have practiced the art continuously, in a very
limited way, down to the present time. There is but little evidence
of the influence of the art of the whites upon the ceramic products
of this province, although the forms are sometimes thought to be
suggestive of European models. It is certain, however, that the art
had reached its highest stage without the aid of civilized hands, and
in the study of its many interesting features we can feel assured that
we are dealing with purely aboriginal ideas.

The pottery of this province is remarkably homogeneous in character,
and we are warranted in assigning it to a single period of culture,
and, in concluding, that the peoples who developed and practiced the
art belonged to a group of closely-allied tribes. We can also state
without fear of precipitating a controversy that the people who made
this pottery were "mound-builders." At the same time, they were
not necessarily of the same people as the builders of the mounds of
Wisconsin, Ohio, or Georgia or contemporaneous with them.

    [Footnote 1: Du Pratz: Histoire de la Louisiane, Vol. II, p.

USE.--It is difficult to determine the functions of the various forms
of vessels. We are safe in stating that in very primitive times nearly
all were intended for use in the domestic arts, and that as time went
on uses were differentiated--form, as a consequence, undergoing many
changes. Early writers on the Southern States mention a number of
ordinary uses, such as cooking, the carrying and boiling of water, the
manufacture of sugar and salt, and the preservation of honey, oil, and

Only a small percentage of the vessels, and these generally of the
pot-shaped variety, show indications of use over fire. It is well
known that with most peoples particular forms were devoted to especial
ceremonial uses. The construction of vases exclusively for mortuary
purposes was probably not generally practiced, although a few
examples, notably those illustrated in Figs. 372 and 420, point
decidedly in this direction.

The simple conditions of life with these people are indicated by the
absence of certain forms. Lamps, whistles, toys, bricks, tiles, and
other articles in common use with many barbaric nations, are not found
in this province. Pipes, so neatly shaped by other mound-building
peoples, are here of a very rude character, a point indicating
decided distinctions between the tribes of this province and those of
neighboring sections.

CONSTRUCTION.--The methods of manufacture have evidently been of a
primitive character. The wheel or lathe has not been used. At the
advent of the whites, the natives were observed to build their vessels
by a process known as "coiling," and by modeling over gourds, and over
blocks of wood and masses of indurated clay shaped for the purpose.

It is probable that in many cases the support was not a mold in the
ordinary sense, but was simply a rounded object of small size held in
one hand while the base of the vessel was formed over it by the other.
Rounded pebbles, or the mushroom-shaped objects of clay sometimes
found in the mounds, would have served the purpose perfectly. Trowels,
paddles, stamps, polishing-stones, and other implements were used in

Baskets were also used as molds, and pliable fabrics, such as nets and
coarse cloths, were employed in some sections. The methods of baking
have apparently not been described in much detail by early writers,
but the ware itself bears the marks of those simple processes known to
our modern tribes. It is highly probable that the work was done by the
women, and that each community had its skilled potters, who built and
baked the ware in the open air, going through those simple mummeries
that accompany the work among most primitive peoples.

MATERIAL.--The material employed was usually a moderately fine-grained
clay, tempered, in a great majority of cases, with pulverized shells.
The shells used were doubtless obtained from the neighboring rivers.
In many of the vessels the particles are large, measuring as much
as one-fourth or even one-half of an inch in width, but in the more
elegant vases the shell has been reduced to a fine powder. Powdered
potsherds were also used. The clay was, apparently, often impure
or loamy. It was, probably, at times, obtained from recent alluvial
deposits of the bayous--the sediment of overflows--as was the potter's
clay of the Nile. There is no reason for believing that the finer
processes of powdering and levigation were known. A slip or wash of
very finely comminuted clay was sometimes applied to the surface of
the vessel. The walls of the vessels are often thick and uneven, and
are always quite porous, a feature of no little importance in the
storage of drinking-water, but one resulting from accident rather than
from design.

COLOR.--The paste of this ware presents two marked varieties of color,
a dark and a light hue. In a majority of cases it is dark, ranging
from a rich black to all shades of brown and gray. The lighter
tints are usually warm ochrey grays, rarely approaching reddish or
terra-cotta hues. It is highly probable that the differences of color
were, to some extent, intentionally produced, and that the material
or methods of firing were regulated in a way to produce one tint or
another at pleasure. This theory is confirmed by the fact that certain
forms of vases are pretty generally dark, while certain other forms
are as uniformly light--the latter in nearly all cases being used for
the application of color, or of designs in color.

FORM.--This ware exhibits a great variety of forms, many of which are
extremely pleasing. In this respect it is far superior to the other
prehistoric groups of the eastern United States. The shapes are as
varied and elegant as those of the ancient Pueblo pottery, but are
inferior to those of Mexico, Central America, and Peru. They take a
higher rank than the prehistoric wares of central and northern Europe,
but as a matter of course lack the symmetry and refinement of outline
that characterize the wheel-made wares of Mediterranean countries.

As I classify by form farther on, and discuss the origin of form as
each form-group is presented, I shall not make further reference to
this topic here.

FINISH.--The finish, as compared with the work of civilized nations,
is rude. The surface is often simply hand or trowel smoothed.
Generally, however, it was more or less carefully polished by rubbing
with an implement of stone, shell, bone, or other suitable substance,
the markings of these tools being distinctly visible. Nothing
resembling a glaze has been found on pieces known to be ancient. The
surface was sometimes washed or coated with a slip or film of fine
clay which facilitated the polishing, and in very many cases a coat of
thick red ocher was applied.

ORNAMENT.--The ancient potter of the middle province has taken
especial delight in the embellishment of his wares, and the devices
used are varied and interesting. They include, first, fanciful
modifications of form; second, relief ornament; third, intaglio
figures; and, fourth, designs in color.

_Modification of shape_.--It can hardly be claimed that the ancient
peoples of this region had a very refined appreciation of elegance of
outline, yet the simple, essential forms of cups and pots were by no
means satisfactory to them. There are many modifications of shape that
indicate a taste for higher types of beauty, and a constant attempt to
realize them. The æsthetic sentiment was considerably developed.

There is also a decided tendency toward the grotesque. To such an
extreme have the dictates of fancy been followed, in this respect,
that utility, the true office of the utensil, has often taken a
secondary place, although it is never lost sight of entirely. Bowls
have been fashioned into the shapes of birds, fishes, and reptiles,
and vases and bottles into a multitude of animal and vegetable forms
without apparent regard to convenience. All of these modifications of
essential forms were doubtless looked upon as, in a sense, ornamental.
So far as I can determine they were in no case intended to be

_Relief ornament._--Decorative ideas of a purely conventional
character are often worked out in both low and salient relief. This is
generally accomplished by the addition of nodes and fillets of clay to
the plain surfaces of the vessel. Fillets are applied in various ways
over the body, forming horizontal, oblique, and vertical bands or
ribs. When placed about the rim or base, these fillets are often
indented with the finger or an implement in a way to imitate, rudely,
a heavy twisted cord--a feature evidently borrowed from basketry.
Nodes are likewise attached in various ways to the neck and body of
the vessel. In some cases the entire surface of the larger vessels is
varied by pinching up small bits of the clay between the nails of the
fingers and thumb. An implement is sometimes used to produce a similar

_Intaglio designs._--The æsthetic tendencies of these potters are well
shown by their essays in engraving. They worked with points upon
both the plastic and the sun-dried clay, as well as at times upon
the fire-baked surface. Figures thus produced exhibit a wide range of
artistic achievement. They illustrate all stages of progress from the
most archaic type of ornament--the use of dots and straight lines--to
the most elegant combinations of curves; and, finally, to the
delineation of life forms and fanciful conceptions.

Generally, when a blunt implement is employed, the line is produced
by a movement that I shall call _trailing_, in contradistinction
to _incision_, in which a sharp point is used, and _excision_ or
_excavation_, which is more easily accomplished with the end of a
hollow reed or bone. _Impressed_ or _stamped_ ornament is of rare
occurrence, and anything like _repoussée_ work is practically unknown.
The practice of impressing cords and fabrics was common among many of
the northern tribes, and nets have been used in the manufacture and
ornamentation of vases at many points within this province. The use of
stamps, especially prepared, was in vogue in most of the Gulf States,
and to a limited extent in northern localities.

_Designs in color._--The colors used in painting are white, red,
brown, and black, and have generally consisted of thick, opaque,
clayey paste, white or colored with ochers. Occasionally the colors
used seem to have been mere stains. All were probably laid on with
coarse brushes of hair, feathers, or vegetable fiber. The figures are
in most cases simple, and are applied in broad, bold lines, indicative
of a strong talent for decoration. The forms are, to a great extent,
curvilinear, and embrace meanders, scrolls, circles, and combinations
and groupings of curved lines in great variety. Of rectilinear forms,
lozenges, guilloches, zigzags, and checkers are best known.

The decided prevalence of curved forms is worthy of remark. With all
their fertility of invention, the inhabitants of this valley seem
never to have achieved the rectangular linked meander, or anything
more nearly approaching it than the current scroll or the angular
guilloche, while other peoples, such as the Pueblos of the Southwest
and the ancient nations of Mexico and Peru found in it a chief
resource. The reasons for this, as well as for other peculiarities of
the decorative art of the mound-builders as embodied in pottery, must
be sought for in the antecedent and coëxistent arts of these tribes.
These peoples were certainly not highly accomplished in the textile
arts, nor had they felt the influence of advanced architecture such
as that of Mexico. The influence of such arts inevitably gives rise
to angular geometric figures. Taken as a whole, the remains of the
mound-builders would seem to point to a hyperborean origin for both
the people and their arts.

The origin of decorative ideas, the processes by which they are
acquired by the various arts, and their subsequent mutations of form
and significance are matters of the greatest interest, and a separate
paper will be devoted to their consideration.

CLASSIFICATION OF FORMS.--Form cannot be made a satisfactory basis
of classification, yet within a given group of products, defined
by general characters, a classification by shape will be found to
facilitate description. In making such a classification we must
distinguish essential from non-essential features, that is to say, for
example, that bowls must be placed with bowls, bottles with bottles,
etc., disregarding the various fanciful modifications given to rims,
necks, and bodies for the sake of embellishment. To recognize these
adventitious features, which are almost infinite in variety, would be
to greatly embarrass form classification.

There is also another difficulty in the employment of form in
classification--the nomenclature is very imperfect. We cannot use
Greek names, as our forms correspond in a very few instances only with
the highly developed forms known to classic art. Our own plain terms,
although defective, are better and far more appropriate. All necessary
correlations of form can readily be made when the comparative study of
the pottery of the world is undertaken.

If we take a full set of these primitive vessels and arrange them in
the order of increasing complexity we have an unbroken series ranging
from the simplest cup to the high-necked bottle with perforated foot
or with tripod. A partial series is shown in the upper line, Fig 361.
A multitude of variations from these outlines are found, a few of
which are suggested in the lower line.

[Illustration: FIG. 361.--Scale of forms.]

Compound, eccentric, and life forms are given elsewhere.

In deciding upon the order of arrangement for the various form
groups, I shall be governed by what appears to be the natural order
of evolution--a progress from simple to complex. First then we have
basin-like vessels, such as _dishes_, _cups_, and _bowls_. Second,
vases with wide mouths and somewhat globular bodies, the larger of
which would be very generally recognized as _pots_. Third, vases with
full bodies and narrow mouths, such as are often termed _jars_, but
which are as properly called bottles. Fourth, vessels with high,
narrow necks, universally denominated _bottles_. Vessels that cannot
be grouped with either of these classes will have to be described in
sub-groups, arranged in the order of their complexity or importance.

ORIGIN OF FORM.--The derivation and subsequent mutations of form will
be treated somewhat in detail as the various forms come up, and a
subsequent paper will dwell upon the topic at considerable length.


Basin or bowl-shaped vessels exhibit great diversity of shape and
ornament. In size they range from less than one inch in diameter and
depth to more than twenty inches in diameter and a foot in depth. In
color and finish they are uniform with vessels of the other classes.
Their uses were doubtless chiefly domestic.

[Illustration: FIG. 362.--Forms of bowls.]

FORM.--The forms are greatly varied, as will be seen in Fig. 362. Many
are simply segments of spheres and vary from a shallow saucer to a
hollow perforated globe. Others have elongated, compressed, or conical
bodies, with round or flattened bases. Rectangular and irregular forms
are sometimes found. Stands and legs are but rarely attached, and
handles, excepting those of a grotesque character, are exceptional.

It will probably be safe to assume that some form of shallow vessel--a
dish, cup, or bowl, was the first artificial form produced. Such
a vessel would be most easily fashioned in clay and may have been
suggested by accident, or by natural or artificial vessels.

Whatever the origin or whichever the method of construction, the
difficulties encountered would at first prevent the manufacture of
other than the simplest forms.

ORNAMENT.--The ornamentation of bowls was accomplished in a variety
of ways. These have been already described in a general way, under the
head of ornament. Rim modifications constitute an important feature.
The margin or lip may be square, oblique, round, or grooved, as
indicated in Fig. 363 _a_, _b_, _c_, and _d_. The scallop may be
employed as in _e_ and _f_, and relief ornament may be added, such as
fillets and nodes, and various horizontal projections, as shown in
the second line, Fig. 363, to say nothing of incised lines and
indentations, which are the heritage of wicker-work.

[Illustration: FIG. 363.--Modification of rims.]

Not satisfied with these simple ideas of decoration, the fancy of
the potter led him to add embellishments of most varied and often of
extraordinary character. The nodes and ridges have been enlarged and
prolonged, and fashioned into a thousand natural and fanciful forms.
Shells, fish, birds, beasts, human and impossible creatures have been
utilized in a multitude of ways. Many illustrations of these are given
on subsequent pages.

The body of the bowl is somewhat less profusely ornamented than the
rim. The interior, as well as the exterior, has received painted,
relieved, and intaglio designs. In the painted ones the favorite idea
for the interior is a series of volutes, in broad lines, radiating
from the center of the basin. Groups of festooned lines, either
painted or engraved, and arranged to give the effect of imbricate
scales, form also a favorite motive. The exterior surface of the
incurved rims of globular vessels offers a tempting surface to the
artist and is often tastefully decorated in all the styles.

ILLUSTRATIONS.--_Ordinary forms._--I have not thought it necessary to
present many cuts of simple undecorated vessels, as their shapes are
repeated numberless times in elaborated forms. The crude examples
teach nothing as to stage of culture. They are of the same time and
people as the finer specimens.

[Illustration: FIG. 364.--Bowl: Arkansas.--1/3.]

The small bowl given in Fig. 364 is unusually well made, and is
peculiar in having its interior surface decorated with a rather chaste
incised design consisting of festooned lines. This was a favorite idea
with the ancient potters and may be seen on both exterior and interior
surfaces of a variety of vessels. The rim is beveled on the inner edge
and has a beaded or indented fillet encircling the outer margin. The
bottom is somewhat flattened. This specimen is from Arkansas.

[Illustration: FIG. 365.--Bowl: Arkansas.--1/3.]

In Fig. 365 we have a good example of the dark, nicely-finished ware
of Arkansas. The widely expanding rim is neatly scalloped on the
margin and is finished on the inside with a pattern of incised lines.
These lines appear to have been engraved in the hardened clay. The
form is rendered graceful by a shallow encircling depression or groove
at the base of the rim. The bottom is somewhat flattened.

Occasionally we find very deep bowls with sloping sides and flat
bottoms resembling our common flower pots. One example from Arkansas
is seven inches in diameter at the top and four at the base, and five
inches deep. A heavy band of clay has been added to the outer
margin of the rim, leaving a channel above and beneath. A number of
perforations occur in this rim, as if made for the passage of thongs
or filaments. A similar specimen of larger dimensions may be seen in
the National Museum.

We have a number of bowls with incurved rims. This form is more
characteristic of the south and is common along the Gulf coast.

A very small example is shown in Fig. 366. The lower part of the body
is nearly hemispherical while the rim contracts slightly, giving a
rather graceful outline. The exterior is embellished with a simple
figure consisting of four linked scrolls which have been traced with a
blunt point in the moist clay.

[Illustration: FIG. 366.--Cup: Arkansas.--1/3.]

A much larger vessel resembling the above in shape is given in Fig.
367. It is of the dark brownish shell-tempered ware, characteristic
of Arkansas. The lip is much incurved and the base considerably
flattened, so that the form is that of a greatly compressed oblate
spheroid. The outer surface has been moderately well polished, and is
ornamented in a very effective manner by a series of figures, outlined
by incised lines, alternate spaces being filled in with minute

[Illustration: FIG. 367.--Bowl: Arkansas. (?)--1/3.]

A favorite form is a bowl with full deep body and incurved lip.
A vessel of this class is illustrated in Fig. 368. The rim is but
slightly incurved, while the body is considerably constricted below
the greatest circumference. It is a unique and handsome specimen. The
color of the slip is a pale, reddish-gray, a little darker than an
ordinary flesh tint. The paste is seen to be yellowish where the
surface has been injured. The ornament is a simple meander, consisting
of three incised lines. It is said to have been found in Arkansas.
Other bowls of like form and of elegant finish are found in the
collection. They are generally dark in color, and have large
apertures, low walls and flattened bases. The meander, mostly in its
more simple forms, is the favorite decoration.

[Illustration: FIG. 368.--Bowl: Arkansas.--1/3.]

There are many red vessels of the class under consideration, but the
majority are less contracted at the aperture and thus are somewhat
pot-shaped. They are rather rudely constructed and finished, and
but for the color, would seem to be intended for ordinary cooking
purposes. I observe in a number of cases that circular medallion-like
ornaments have been set around the rim. These are from one-half to one
inch in diameter, and are generally perforated or punctured in two
or three places, apparently with the idea of representing a face. The
effect is very much like that of the small perforated disks, riveted
upon the exterior of copper or tin kettles for the purpose of
attaching handles. Occasionally a tail-like appendage is added to the
under side of these discoidal heads, suggesting the tadpole figures
upon the sacred water vessels of the Pueblo Indians.

One large basin with slightly incurved rim has a series of triangular
figures in red and brown upon both the inner and the outer surfaces.
It is rudely finished and of large size, being eleven inches in
diameter and seven and a half in height.

_Eccentric forms._--Before proceeding with the discussion of
life-forms as exhibited in bowls, I must present a few unique shapes.

[Illustration: FIG. 369. FIG. 370. Cups: Arkansas (?).--1/3.]

These consist of ladle-shaped vessels, and of bowls or basins with
rectangular, oval, or unsymmetrical outlines. Ladles are of rare
occurrence. In the Third Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology
I have illustrated the best example that has come to my notice. The
Davenport collection contains but one specimen--a rude shallow cup
with a short thick handle. The form suggests the wooden and horn
spoons of the modern tribes and may have originated in their archaic

Fig. 369 illustrates a minute cup rudely made of coarse clay. The
outline is oval and slightly pointed at one end, as if intended for
pouring liquids.

In Fig. 370 we have another small vessel of rude finish with two
pointed lips. A much larger vessel of similar shape may be seen in the
Davenport collection. The projecting pointed lip is rarely found in
aboriginal pottery, although I see no reason why such a feature may
not readily have been suggested to the savage by the prolonged margins
of his vessels of shell.

Rectangular vessels are of the rude shell-tempered ware, and, although
rare, are widely distributed.

Fig. 371 illustrates a specimen from Pecan Point, Arkansas. The
surface is rudely finished and without polish. The color is a dark
gray, much flecked with large particles of white shell. Another
example has a square rim but a rounded bottom, and is covered with a
coat or slip of dark red clay.

[Illustration: FIG. 371.--Rectangular bowl: Pecan Point,

A small vessel from the same region as the preceding has the rim
pressed in on the four sides, leaving sharp, projecting corners.

One of the most notable vessels in the collection is illustrated in
Fig. 372. It is a heavy casket consisting of two parts, body and lid,
and is made as usual of clay and coarsely pulverized shell. It is
brownish gray in color and bears some marks of the baking. It was
obtained by Captain W. P. Hall from a low mound at Hale's Point,
Tennessee, and is described by Mr. W. H. Pratt, in the following
language: "It is of rude, irregular, quadrangular form, made in two
parts. The lower, or case proper, is 12 inches long, 7 inches wide,
and 5 inches deep, inside measure, the upper edge being slightly
bent inward all around. The upper part or lid is of similar form and
dimensions, being very slightly larger, so as to close down over the
other part, about one and a half inches, and is somewhat more shallow.
As the lid does not fit very perfectly, the joint around the edge had
been plastered up with clay. When found, it contained the remains of a
very small child reduced to dust, except that some of the bones of
the skull, jaws, and limbs retained their form, crumbling rapidly,
however, upon removal and exposure to the air. There were also found
two or three dozen small shell beads. Excepting the remains described,
the case was entirely empty. The case weighs six and a quarter, and
the lid just six pounds." This is one of the very few vessels that
would seem to have been constructed especially for mortuary purposes.

[Illustration: FIG. 372.--Burial casket: Hale's Point,

I wish to add to the list of eccentric forms a singular example from
the collection of J. R. Thibault, of Little Rock, Arkansas. As shown
in Fig. 373 it is an oblong, trough-like vessel with flat projecting
wings at the ends. It is extremely well-finished, with thin walls,
symmetrical form, and high polish. The color is quite dark and the
material is as usual. The engraved design consists of incised lines,
which form a number of rectangular compartments extending around the
exterior surface of the body. The wings are perforated. The form of
this vessel suggests the wooden trays of some modern tribes. A similar
example, which is illustrated in the Third Annual Report of the Bureau
of Ethnology, is of much inferior interest, being plain and rude.

_Life forms._--A very large percentage of the bowls of this district
are modified in such a way as to resemble, more or less closely,
the form of some living creature--bird, beast, or reptile. Especial
attention has been given to the heads. These are modeled in the round
and attached to the rim or side, while other parts of the animal
appear upon different portions of the vessel.

[Illustration: FIG. 373.--Trough-shaped vessel: Arkansas.--1/3.

[_National Museum._]]

It will be difficult to determine the origin of this curious practice.
We shall not be able to say that it came from the elaboration of
handles, simply to please fancy, for the reason that vessels of
this class are rarely known to have had simple handles; nor from the
modification of simple ornaments, as such were but little used. It
is still less probable that animal forms were first modeled
independently, and afterwards changed in such a way as to serve as
vessels. There are no examples of animal forms in clay independent
of vessels. It would not be consistent with primitive methods
of procedure to copy nature direct, at least until some mystic
significance had become attached to the form employed. It is possible,
however, that the origin of this practice is not to be found
within the plastic art itself, but in the shapes of antecedent and
co-existent vessels of other materials in which life forms had been
employed; or in the use of natural objects themselves as utensils,
the original forms not having been lost sight of and having in time
suggested the employment of other natural forms. Examples of the
latter class may be cited.

Shells were primitive vessels. The hard cases of seeds and fruits were
also much used. These were doubtless antecedent to vessels of clay.
They were the natural models for the potter, the carver in wood or
stone, and their employment as such served to lead up gradually to a
more realistic and general use of natural shapes in works of art to
which they were not essential features. The importance of the various
animal forms was increased by their association with religious ideas.
Nearly all the vessels of this class presented in the following
illustrations come from the vicinity of Pecan Point, Arkansas.

Clay vessels imitating both marine and fresh-water shells are
occasionally obtained from the mounds and graves of the Mississippi
Valley. The conch shell appears to have been a favorite model,
especially in its modified form, Fig. 374, _a_ and _b_. The clam shell
is also imitated in _c_ and _d_. The more conventional forms of these
vessels are exceedingly interesting, as they point out the tendencies
and possibilities of modification. An instructive example illustrated
in _e_ has four groups of nodes, each, consisting of a large central
node with four or five smaller ones, surrounding it, set about the
rim, the conception being that of four shells joined in one vessel,
with the noded apexes turned outward and the bases inward.

A still more highly conventionalized form is shown in _f_. The cup
is unsymmetrical in outline, and has a few imperfect nodes near one
corner, but its resemblance to a shell would hardly be recognized by
one unacquainted with more realistic renderings of like subjects. In
_g_ we have an imitation of a shell cup placed within a plain cup.

[Illustrations: FIG. 374.--Clay vessels imitating shells.]

A very good illustration of this class of vessel is given in Fig. 375.
It is evidently intended to imitate a trimmed conch shell. The apex
and a few of the surrounding nodes are shown at the right, while the
base or spine forms a projecting lip at the left. A coil of clay forms
the apex. This is carried outward in a sinistral spiral to the noded
shoulder. We have here a suggestion of the origin of a favorite
decorative motive, the scroll, a clew, however, which the paucity of
examples makes it difficult to follow up satisfactorily.

[Illustration: FIG. 375.--Bowl imitating a modified conch shell.--1/3.]

Although we may not be able to arrive at any definite conclusion in
regard to the origin and significance of the practice of modeling
life forms in clay, we are certain of one thing, that it became an
important feature in the potter's art, and that in due course of time
the practice broke loose from the restraints of birth and tradition
and asserted its freedom in the production of any form that
superstition or fancy happened to select.

The artist probably did not follow nature with great accuracy in all
the details of species and varieties, but some definite model must
have been in view, in nearly all cases, and such characters as came
to be regarded as essential to that creature were never lost sight of,
consistency being a most notable characteristic of the art of a savage
or barbaric people.

[Illustration: FIG. 376.--Frog-shaped bowl: Craigshead Point,

[Illustration: FIG. 377.--Frog-shaped bowl: Pecan Point,

[Illustration: FIG. 378.--Animal-shaped bowl: Arkansas.--1/3.]

The sun-fish was a favorite model, but its form was generally employed
in vessels with upright necks. A number of examples occur in the next
section. Of reptilian forms the frog seems to have been the favorite.

[Illustration: FIG. 379.--Bird-shaped bowl: Arkansas.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 380.--Bird-shaped bowl: Arkansas.--1/3.]

Few examples occur, however, in the shallower vessels. In the bowl
illustrated in Fig. 376, the various members of the body are boldly
modeled, and appear about the most expanded portion of the vessel.
The rim is ornamented with a series of notches, and two small loops
connect the rim with the head and tail of the creature. The legs are
characteristic, and the long toes extend beneath the body. The bottom
of the vessel is flat. The make and finish are as usual, but the
surface has been painted red. A similar vessel is shown in Fig. 377,
the view being taken from the front. It is well polished and has a
rounded bottom. The color is dark.

[Illustration: FIG. 381.--Bird-shaped bowl: Arkansas.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 382.--Bowl with grotesque heads: Arkansas.--1/3.]

Another remarkable example of this use of animal forms is seen in
the vessel presented in Fig. 378. A deep globular bowl of dark,
well-polished ware is made to represent the head of an animal. A long
snout, with teeth and nostrils and accompanied by a pair of knobs for
eyes, embellishes the right side--as seen in the cut--ears appear at
the front and back, and a circular node standing, perhaps, for the
severed neck, is placed at the left. The head has a decidedly porcine
look, yet it may have been intended for a raccoon or an opossum.

Fig. 379 illustrates a large shallow bowl or pan of ordinary form
and finish. The head of a bird resembling a turkey is attached to one
side, with the bill turned inward. On the opposite side there is a
small handle-like projection that represents the bird's tail.

A vessel of somewhat extraordinary form is shown in Fig. 380. The bowl
is smaller and deeper than the last, and serves as the body of a bird,
the head and tail of which are of unusual proportions. The neck is
very long and thick and is gracefully curved, but the head is not
modeled with sufficient care to make apparent the species intended.

The vessel shown in Fig. 381 is also finished in imitation of a bird.
In this case the bird is placed upon its back, the neck and head being
looped up to form a sort of handle on one side, while the legs answer
a like purpose on the opposite side. The wings are represented by
a number of lines rudely engraved upon the sides of the vessel. The
resemblance of this bowl to the wooden basins made by Northwest Coast
Indians is very striking.

The vessel shown in Fig. 382 is one of the most unique yet brought to
light. It is a heavy, rather rudely finished bowl, to the rim of which
two grotesque heads, apparently of nondescript character, have been
attached. One resembles the oft-occurring plumed serpent of aboriginal
American art in a number of its characters. The other has a double
comb somewhat resembling that of a domestic fowl. No description
can convey as clear a conception of these monstrosities as the
accompanying illustration.

[Illustration: FIG. 383.--Heads of birds.]

[Illustration: FIG. 384.--Grotesque heads.]

A good degree of skill is shown in the modeling of varieties of birds.
A fair idea of the accuracy of these potters in this direction will be
conveyed by the series of heads shown in Fig. 383. Several species
of ducks are apparently differentiated, one of which, resembling the
summer duck closely, is given in _a_, while the head given in _b_,
although possibly also intended for a duck, is much like a grouse or
partridge. The pigeon or dove is seen in _c_, the vulture or eagle in
_d_, and the owl in _e_.

[Illustration: FIG. 385.--Bowl with grotesque head: Pecan Point,

[Illustration: FIG. 386.--Bowl with grotesque head: Pecan Point,

It would be difficult to imagine more grotesque and outlandish heads
than those attached to the bowls illustrated in Figs. 385 and 386. The
vessels themselves are of the usual type, rudely modeled and finished
and very heavy. The first is dark in color, the other red. The strange
animal here represented is certainly not a close copy of anything in
nature. It is characterized by upright ears, a high bulbous snout
and a grinning mouth. The teeth in some cases resemble the fangs of
a serpent. The eyes consist of rounded nodes; and often curved lines,
incised or in relief, extend from them or the mouth down the sides of
the neck. The tail at the opposite end of the vessel is turned upward
and coiled. The type specimens of this form are from Pecan Point,

[Illustration: FIG. 387.--Bowl with grotesque handle: Scanlon's
Landing, Arkansas.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 388.--Animal-shaped bowl: Arkansas.--1/3.]

The peculiar character of this class of heads is well shown in the
series given in Fig. 384. My observations have led me to suspect
that they may be the result of attempts to model in clay the mythical
plumed serpent which is so graphically delineated in the engraving
upon the little vase shown in Fig. 407. The fact that in one case legs
have been added to the base of the body militates against this theory.
Their resemblance to the gargoyle heads of mediæval architecture
suggests the possibility of early European influence.

If possible, a still more novel conceit is embodied in the handle of
the vessel shown in Fig. 387. It can be likened to nothing in nature
more readily than to the antler of an elk. This vessel is of a dark
brownish color, and is but slightly polished. A duplicate specimen
of inferior size and finish has recently been added to the National
Museum from a grave at Pecan Point.

Similar to the preceding in general appearance are a number of bowls
or deep pans, embellished with the heads of animals. A very good
example is given in Fig. 388. The head has a decided resemblance to
that of a female deer or fawn. The tail appears upon the opposite side
of the basin, and is pendant, as in nature. Legs have been added
to the base of the bowl; these terminate beneath the body in cloven

The small bowl, shown in Fig. 389, is nearly hemispherical in shape.

[Illustration: FIG. 389.--Animal-shaped bowl: Arkansas.--1/3.]

A small head, representing some animal, has been attached to the
rim. The exterior surface is covered with a number of groups of
roughly-worked concentric ridges, which may be meant to imitate hair.
These ridges have apparently been made by pinching up the clay between
the nails of the fingers and thumb. Figures of similar form are
generally incised. This vessel is probably from the vicinity of Pecan

The creature represented by the head, shown in Fig. 390, would not be
recognized from the cut, or perhaps not even with certainty from any
single specimen, but with a number of examples in view, there need be
no hesitation. The animal intended is a bat. In a number of features
the likeness is striking. The high top head, the angular ears, and the
small eyes crowded down upon the mouth are characteristic. The tail is
flat, curved a little upward, and ridged along the middle in imitation
of the attenuated caudal column. The general consistency of this
work is demonstrated by the fact that this particular form of tail
accompanies this form of head in all cases, and is not associated with
any other. The face of the bat is always turned toward the vessel; in
imitation of other varieties of animals, it is nearly always turned

[Illustration: FIG. 390.--Bowl with bat's head: Pecan Point,

In one case, Fig. 391, we have, what appears to be, a human head
attached to the side of the bowl. This head is furnished with a
triangular crest, notched on the edges, and enlarged at the top. The
case is a perplexing one, especially as a tail like that attached to
the bird bowls occurs on the side opposite the head.

[Illustration: FIG. 391.--Bowl: Arkansas.--1/3.]


There is no hard line of demarcation between the class of vessels now
to be considered and those already described. The distinction is made
chiefly for convenience of treatment.

MATERIAL, ETC.--As a rule, pot-shaped vessels are of coarser materials
and of ruder finish than other forms, indicating, perhaps, their
exclusive relegation to the culinary arts, where nice finish was not
essential. In many cases they show use over fire.

In size, they have a wide range. The larger are often as much as
fifteen inches in diameter, and twenty in height. There are a score or
more of very large size in the Davenport museum.

FORM.--The form characteristics are a full globular body--sometimes
elongated, sometimes compressed vertically--a low neck, and a wide
aperture. The bottom is very generally rounded. A few of the form
modifications are shown in Fig. 392. The rim or neck is always short,
and is upright or slightly recurved. Many vessels resembling the
shapes here presented are placed with the succeeding group, as they
appear to be functionally distinct from this. There are no examples
with legs or stands.

[Illustration: FIG. 392.--Forms of pots.]

HANDLES.--Looped handles are confined almost wholly to this class
of vessels. They are generally ranged about the rim or neck. In a
majority of cases there are four handles to a vessel. We rarely find
less than that number, but often more. It is a usual thing to see
fifteen or twenty handles set about the rim. Originally the handles
may have been exclusively functional in character; they were so at
least in antecedent forms. These potters have certainly, at times,
employed them for purposes of embellishment. In some cases they are
too fragile for use, in others they are flattened out against the neck
of the vessel and united with it throughout their whole length. Again,
they have degenerated into mere ridges, notched and otherwise modified
to suit the fancy. In many instances their place is taken by incised
lines or indentations which form effective and appropriate ornamental
figures. A series of vessels showing gradations from perfect handles
to their atrophied representatives is shown in Fig. 393.

[Illustration: FIG. 393.--Handles.]

ORIGIN OF HANDLES.--Handles were doubtless originally attached to
facilitate the suspension and handling of vessels and other articles.
They probably had their typical development in basketry, and there
are good reasons for supposing that certain forms of the handles upon
pottery owe their existence to contact with the sister art. This idea
is confirmed by their shapes, and by the fact that a large percentage
of the pottery handles are useless as aids to suspension or

ORNAMENT.--Rim margins are modified for decorative purposes, very much
as they are in bowls. See Fig. 363.

The bodies of these vessels are often elaborately ornamented, mostly
by incised figures, but often by punctures, nodes and ribs. The
incised lines are arranged principally in groups of straight lines
forming angular figures--a very archaic style--and in groups of
festooned lines so placed as to resemble scales. The punctures
are made with a sharp point, and form encircling lines and various
carelessly executed patterns. A rude sort of ornamentation is produced
by pinching up the soft clay of the surface between the nails of the
fingers and thumb. Relief ornament consists chiefly of applied fillets
of clay, arranged to form vertical ribs. Rows of nodes are sometimes
seen, and in a few cases the whole body is covered with rude nodes.

ILLUSTRATIONS.--The specimens selected for illustration are intended
to epitomize the forms and decorations of a very great number of
vessels, and are not always the most showy examples to be found.

A vessel of rather exceptional shape is given in Fig. 394. It could as
well be classed with bowls as with pots. The ware is of the rude kind
generally used over the fire. The body is high and cylindrical, the
rim flaring, and the bottom quite flat. The form is suggestive of our
domestic crockery.

[Illustration: FIG. 394.--Pot: Arkansas (?).--1/3.]

Another bowl-like pot is illustrated in Fig. 395. It is of the dark,
rudely hand-polished variety. The body is globular, the neck is very
short and is ornamented with a dentate band. Below this are two pairs
of perforations, probably used for suspending the vessel. There are
a number of vessels of this variety, mostly smaller than the example

The vessel shown in Fig. 396 is still more pot-like. The neck is
higher than the preceding and is slightly constricted. It is of very
rude construction and finish. The rim is furnished with two small
horizontal projections, and the body is somewhat obscurely lobed. It
represents a very numerous class, especially plentiful in Southeast

[Illustration: FIG. 395.--Pot: Arkansas (?).--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 396.--Pot: Waverly, Tennessee.--1/3.]

The little pot presented in Fig. 397 has the body covered with rude
nodes. The neck is surrounded by a heavy fillet, notched obliquely
in imitation of a twisted cord. Four rude handles have also been

[Illustration: FIG. 397.--Pot: Arkansas (?).--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 398.--Pot: Arkansas.--1/3.]

In Fig. 398 we have one of the rudest examples in the collection.
The neck is furnished with four handles, which alternate with four
vertical ribs. The body is misshapen and rough, and is ornamented with
a series of nearly vertical ridges, a rather usual device, and one
which is sometimes very neatly executed.

The body of the nicely finished pot shown in Fig. 399 is embellished
with short, incised markings, arranged in vertical lines. The neck
is furnished with a heavy indented band and four strong handles. The
locality given is "Four-Mile Bayou, Alabama."

The specimen given in Fig. 400 illustrates the use of great numbers
of handles. In this case there are sixteen. They are gracefully formed
and add much to the appearance of the vessel, which is really a bowl
with wide, flaring rim. In most of its characters it resembles the

[Illustration: FIG. 399.--Pot: Alabama (?).--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 400.--Pot: Arkansas (?).--1/3.]

Another curious variation in the shape of handles is shown in the
little cup given in Fig. 401. This can hardly be called a usual
feature, although occurring in vessels of various localities. I have
seen an example from the Missouri Valley in which a great number of
perforated handles were set about the rim, and another in which there
was a continuous, partially free, collar perforated at intervals.
There is a specimen of this class in the Davenport Academy collection
in which the flattened handles are so placed about the neck as to form
a series of arches. These, I take it, are partially atrophied forms.
The body is ornamented by a scale-like pattern of incised lines--a
favorite method of decoration with the ancient potter.

[Illustration: FIG. 401.--Pot: Arkansas (?).--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 402.--Pot: Arkansas (?).--1/3.]

In Fig. 402 we have an illustration of total atrophy. The handles are
represented by simple incised lines. There is no relief whatever. In
many cases the form of the handles is shown in low relief, the outer
surface being plain or ornamented with incised lines or punctures.
The body of the vessel last mentioned is covered with rudely incised
scroll designs.

Another good illustration of this class of vessels is shown in Fig.

The cut is taken from my paper in the Third Annual Report of the
Bureau of Ethnology. The handles are indicated by incised lines. The
body was ornamented by pinching up the clay between the nails of the
thumb and forefinger. Locality: Pecan Point, Arkansas.

[Illustration: FIG. 403.--Pot: Pecan Point, Arkansas.--1/3. [_National

[Illustration: FIG. 404.--Pot: Hale's Point, Tennessee.--1/3.]

A good example of the larger pots is illustrated in Fig. 404. It is
engraved a little less than one-fourth the dimensions of the original.
The height is seventeen inches and the greatest diameter eighteen
inches. It is very well made. The walls are even and only moderately
thick. The dark, unpolished surface is profusely speckled with
fragments of white shell. There are four wide, strong handles. The
rim and neck are ornamented with encircling lines of finger-nail

[Illustration: FIG. 405.--Pot: Pecan Point, Arkansas.--1/3.]

A masterpiece of this class of work is shown in Fig. 405. It was
obtained at Pecan Point. It is not quite symmetrical in form but is
carefully finished. The color is gray, with mottlings of dark spots,
the result of firing. The height is eleven inches, and the aperture
is ten inches in diameter. There are ten strong, well-proportioned
handles, each having a knob resembling a rivet head, near the upper
end. The margin of the rim has a circle of indentations. There are a
few red vessels of this shape which have figures of reptiles attached
to the neck.


Vessels of this class were probably not devoted to the ordinary uses
of cooking and serving food. They are handsome in shape, tasteful in
decoration, and generally of small dimensions. They are found, as are
all other forms, buried with the dead, placed by the head or feet, or
within reach of the hands. Their appearance is not suggestive of their
original office, as there is no indication of wear, or of use over

FORM.--I include under this head a series of forms reaching from the
wide-mouthed pot to the well-developed bottle. They really correspond
closely to the high-necked bottles in all respects save in height of
neck, and the separation is therefore for convenience of treatment
only. The following illustration (Fig. 406) will give a good idea of
the forms included.

[Illustration: FIG. 406.--Forms of jar-shaped bottles.]

There are also many eccentric and many extremely interesting life
forms included in this group. A number of vases, modeled after the
human head, are, by their general outline, properly included.

ORNAMENTATION.--The rims, bodies, and bases are embellished much after
the fashion of the vessels already described, with the exception that
handles or handle-like appendages or ornaments seldom appear. The
painted designs are in one, two, or three colors, and the incised
figures have been executed both in the soft and in the thoroughly
dried clay.

The style of execution is often of a very high order, especially in
some of the more southerly examples, a number of which are from the
mounds of Mississippi and Louisiana. We note the fact that in a few of
the designs there is a slight suggestion of Mexican forms.

In illustrating this group, I am compelled, for the want of space
to omit many interesting examples. I present only such as seem to me
especially instructive.

[Illustration: FIG. 407.--Bottle: Pecan Point, Arkansas.]

ILLUSTRATIONS.--_Ordinary forms._--The vessel shown in Fig. 407 may be
taken as a type of a very large class. It is most readily described
as a short-necked, wide-mouthed bottle. It is symmetrical in shape and
very nicely finished. The lip is supplied with a narrow, horizontal
rim. The body expands somewhat abruptly from the base of the upright
neck to the squarish shoulder, and contracts below in an even curve,
giving a hemispherical base. There are a multitude of variations from
this outline, a few of which are suggested in Fig. 406. These vessels
are nearly all of the dark, grayish-brown, fire-mottled ware. A
few are yellowish, and such are often painted red or decorated with
designs in red and white.

[Illustration: FIG. 408.--Bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 409.--Bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

Two charming vases are shown in Figs. 408 and 409. The surface finish
is in both cases very superior. The lines of the figures are carefully
drawn, and seem to have been produced by the trailing, under even
pressure, of a smooth rather blunt point. It is difficult to get so
nicely finished and even a line by simple incision, or by excavating
the clay. The design in Fig. 408 consists of eight groups of curved
lines arranged in pairs, which are separated by plain vertical bands.
It might be considered an interrupted or imperfectly connected form of
the running scroll. This grouping of lines is frequently met with in
the decorative designs of the Southern States. The design upon the
other vase, Fig. 409, is still more characteristic of the South. It
consists of an encircling row of round, shallow indentations, about
which series of incised scrolls are linked, and of two additional rows
of depressions, one above and the other below, through which parallel
lines are drawn.

Many other interesting illustrations of the simpler forms could
be given, but nearly all are very similar in their more important
features to the examples that precede or follow.

As skilled as these peoples were in modeling life forms, and in
engraving geometric devices, they seem rarely to have attempted the
linear representation of life forms. We have, however, two very good

[Illustration: FIG. 410.--Engraved bottle: Arkansas.]

The first of these is shown in outline in Fig. 410. It is a large
bottle embellished with four rude drawings of the human figure,
executed with a sharp point in the soft clay. Height of vessel, eight

The work is characteristic of a very early stage of art. The figures
could be duplicated in the work of the ancient Pueblos, and in the
pictographic art of many of our savage tribes. They are probably
derived from symbolic art, and possibly relate to the guardians of the
four points of the compass, or to some similar mythical characters.

[Illustration: FIG. 411.--Engraved bottle: Arkansas.--3/4.]

The work upon the neat little bottle, presented in Fig. 411, is of the
same class as the above but of a much higher grade, both in execution
and conception. The engraved design is one of the most remarkable
ever obtained from the mounds. It consists of two winged and crested
rattlesnakes, which encircle the most expanded part of the vessel, and
of two sunflower-like figures, alternating with them. These designs
are very carefully engraved with a needle-like point, and are adjusted
to the form of the vase in a way that suggests forethought and an
appreciation of the decorative value of the figures. By dint of
rubbings, photographs and sketches, I have obtained the complete
drawing of the various figures which are given in Fig. 412 on a scale
of one-half the original.

[Illustration: FIG. 412.--Engraved design.--1/2.]

The serpent, especially the rattlesnake, has always taken a leading
place in the mythology and the art of the more cultured American
races, and crest-plumes, and wings have often been considered its
proper attributes. The conventional method of representation is also
characteristically aboriginal. The plumes, the figure connected with
the eye, the bands upon the neck, the stepped figures of the body, and
the semi-circular patches on the wings are all characters that appear
again and again in the ancient art of the United States. The peculiar
emblematic treatment of the heart is almost universal in temperate
North America. And just here I may be permitted to suggest that the
remarkable feature of the great earth-work serpent of Adams county,
Ohio, which has been regarded as the "symbolic egg," and which in
its latest phase has become the issue of a frog and the prey of
the serpent, is possibly intended for the heart of the serpent, the
so-called frog being the head. The rosette figures are not often
duplicated in Indian art. There can be little doubt that the figures
of this design are derived from mythology.

_Eccentric forms._--A form of vessel of which civilized men make
peculiar use is depicted in Fig. 413. There is a marked resemblance
to a common tea-pot. A very few examples have been found, two of which
are illustrated in the Third Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology.
The specimen here given is well made and carefully finished. The neck
is low and wide, and the body is a compressed sphere. The spout is
placed upon one side and a low knob upon the other. The absence of
a handle for grasping indicates that the vessel was probably not
intended for boiling water. These characters are uniform in all the
specimens that have come to my notice. Two small circular depressions
occur on the sides of the vessel alternating with the spout and
the knob and with these features form centers for four rosettes of
involute incised lines. The origin of this form of vessel is
suggested by a fine red piece from "Mississippi," now in the national
collection. The knob is the head of a turtle or other full-bodied
reptile, and the spout takes the place of the creature's tail. Many of
the animal-shaped vases would resemble this form closely if an opening
were made through the top of the body and through the tail.

[Illustration: FIG. 413.--Teapot-shaped vessel: Arkansas.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 414.--Vessel of eccentric form: Arkansas.--1/3.]

In connection with the teapot-like vessels it will be well to describe
another novel form not wholly unlike them in appearance, an example
being shown in Fig. 414. The shoulder is elongated on opposite sides
into two curved, horn-like cones, which give to the body a somewhat
crescent-shaped outline. It is of the ordinary plain, dark ware, and
has had a low stand or base which is now broken away.

The specimen given in Fig. 415 has been considerably mutilated, but
evidently belongs to the same class as the preceding. It probably
also resembled the vessel which follows; it serves at least as a link
between the two. The body is ornamented with carelessly drawn, deeply
incised, involute designs.

[Illustration: FIG. 415.--Vessel of eccentric form: Pecan Point,

[Illustration: FIG. 416.--Animal-shaped vase: Pecan Point,

_Life forms._--A further elaboration of the preceding forms is
illustrated in Fig. 416. On one side the conical projection is greatly
elongated and fashioned to resemble the head of some grotesque beast,
with horns, expanded nostrils, and grinning mouth. The opposite point
is elongated and looped, forming a tail, while the base of the body
is furnished with four feet. On the sides of the vessel are engraved
figures, consisting of clusters of involute lines, as in the specimen
just given. It is of the ordinary dark pottery, and was obtained at
Pecan Point.

Equally noteworthy as plastic representations are the two examples
that follow. The vessel shown in Fig. 417 is modeled in imitation of
a sunfish. The body is much flattened and is neatly polished. The head
is well modeled, as are also the fins and tail. Many examples of this
form are found, some of which are elaborately treated, the scales
being minutely shown. The body of the fish is sometimes placed in the
natural upright position, the neck of the vessel rising from the back,
producing a lenticular shape.

[Illustration: FIG. 417.--Sunfish vase: Arkansas.--1/3.]

The animal so carefully modeled in the vessel given in Fig. 418
resembles a raccoon or an opossum. The mouth of the vessel is wide and
the neck upright and short. The body is ornamented with a pattern
made up of triangular groups of incised lines, which may or may not be
meant for hair.

[Illustration: FIG. 418.--Opossum vase: Arkansas.--2/3.]

The love of modeling life forms shows itself again in the little vase
illustrated in Fig. 419. The head of some animal, rudely suggested,
projects from one side, while a curved tail on the other carries out
the idea of the complete creature. The round body is decorated with
broad vertical lines in dark red. A red line encircles the rim.

[Illustration: FIG. 419.--Animal-shaped vase: Arkansas.--1/3.]

It is not strange that a people who had successfully engaged in the
modeling of life forms, and especially the heads of animals, should
attempt the human head. Their remarkable success in this direction is
shown in a number of vases, one of which is given in Fig. 420. This
and kindred peoples had made considerable progress in carving in stone
and other materials, evincing a decided talent for sculpture; but clay
is so much more readily manipulated than either wood, stone, or shell,
that we are not surprised to find their best work in that material.

It is an interesting fact that with all this cleverness in the
handling of clay, and in the delineation of varied models, the art had
not freed itself from the parent stem--the vessel--and launched out
into an independent field. In a few cases such an end seems to have
been achieved by certain groups of mound builders, notably those whose
works at Madisonville, Ohio, have recently been explored by Professor
Putnam. Modeling in clay was probably confined to vessels for the
reason that, through their humble agency, the art was developed.

Up to the present time I have met with but eight of these curious
head-shaped vases. All were obtained from the vicinity of Pecan Point,
Arkansas, and, like other vessels, have been associated with human
remains in graves or mounds. It is true that in all cases the bones of
the dead have not been found, but this only indicates their complete
decay. The question as to whether or not these vases were made
exclusively for sepulchral purposes must remain unanswered; there is
no source of information upon the subject. Such a purpose is, however,
suggested in this case by the semblance of death given to the faces.

The finest example yet found is shown in Fig. 420. In form it is a
simple head, five inches in height and five inches wide from ear to
ear. The aperture of the vase is in the crown, and is surrounded by a
low, upright rim, slightly recurved. The cavity is roughly finished,
and follows pretty closely the contour of the exterior surface,
excepting in projecting features such as the ears, lips, and nose.
The walls are generally from one-eighth, to one-fourth of an inch in
thickness, the base being about three-eighths. The bottom is flat, and
takes the level of the chin and jaws.

The material does not differ from that of the other vessels of the
same locality. There is a large percentage of shell, some particles of
which are quite large. The paste is yellowish gray in color and
rather coarse in texture. The vase was modeled in the plain clay and
permitted to harden before the devices were engraved. After this
a thick film of fine yellowish-gray clay was applied to the face,
partially filling up the engraved lines. The remainder of the surface,
including the lips, received a thick coat of dark red paint. The whole
surface was then highly polished.

[Illustration: FIG. 420.--Head-shaped vase: Pecan Point,

The illustration will convey a more vivid conception of this striking
head than any description that can be given. The face cannot be
said to have a single feature strongly characteristic of Indian
physiognomy. We have instead the round forehead and the projecting
mouth of the African. The nose, however, is small and the nostrils are
narrow. The face would seem to be that of a youngish person, perhaps
a female. The features are all well modeled, and are so decidedly
individual in character that the artist must have had in his mind a
pretty definite conception of the face to be produced as well as of
the expression appropriate to it, before beginning his work. It will
be impossible, however, to prove that the portrait of a particular
personage was intended. The closed eyes, the rather sunken nose, and
the parted lips were certainly intended to give the effect of death.
The ears are large, correctly placed, and well modeled; they are
perforated all along the margin, thus revealing a practice of the
people to whom they referred. The septum of the nose appears to have
been pierced, and the horizontal depression across the upper lip may
indicate the former presence of a suspended ornament.

[Illustration: FIG. 421.--The engraved figures.]

[Illustration: FIG. 422.--Head covering.]

Perhaps the most unique and striking feature is the pattern of incised
lines that covers the greater part of the face. The lines are deeply
engraved and somewhat "scratchy," and were apparently executed in the
hardened clay before the slip was applied. The left side of the
face is plain, with the exception of a figure somewhat resembling a
grappling hook in outline which partially surrounds the eye. The right
side is covered with a comb-like pattern, placed vertically, with the
teeth upwards. The middle of the forehead has a series of vertical
lines and a few short horizontal ones just above the root of the nose.
There are also three curved lines near the corner of the mouth not
shown in the cut.

The diagram presented herewith (Fig. 421) gives in dotted lines the
correct outline of the front face, and shows projected in solid lines
the engraved figures. The significance of these markings can only be
surmised in the most general way. Their function is probably the same
as that of the tattooed and painted figures upon the faces of living

It will be well to observe that upon the forehead, at the top, there
is a small perforated knob or loop. Similar appendages may be
seen upon many of the clay human heads from this valley. A Mexican
terra-cotta head now in the museum at Mexico has a like feature, and,
at the same time, has closed eyes and an open mouth.

The head dress should be noticed. It seems to have been modeled after
a cloth or skin cap. It extends over the forehead, falls back over
the back of the head, and terminates in points behind, as seen in Fig.
422. Two layers of the material are represented, the one broad, the
other narrow and pointed, both being raised a little above the surface
upon which they rest. This vase head is somewhat smaller than the
average human head.

[Illustration: FIG. 423.--Head-shaped vase: Pecan Point,

[_National Museum._]]

Another of a very similar character now in the Davenport Museum is
about one-half the size of this. The face is much mutilated.

A third is somewhat larger than the one illustrated, but is nearly the
same in finish and color. The face also has the semblance of death,
but the features are different, possessing very decided Indian
characteristics. There is no tattooing.

All of these heads, including also some of those in the National
Museum, are much alike in conception and execution.

This fact will be forcibly impressed upon the mind by a study of Fig.
423, which represents a specimen recently exhumed at Pecan Point
by agents of the Bureau of Ethnology. In size, form, color, finish,
modeling of features, and expression, this head closely resembles the
one first described. The work is not quite so carefully executed and
the head has probably not such pronounced individuality. The curious
device that in the other example appeared near the left eye here
occurs on both sides. The lower part of the face is elaborately
engraved. Three lines cross the upper lip and cheeks, reaching to the
ear; a band of fret-like devices extends across the mouth to the base
of the ears, and another band filled in with oblique reticulated lines
passes around the chin and along the jaws. The ears are perforated as
in the other case and the septum of the nose is partially broken away
as if it had once held a ring. A perforated knob has occupied the top
of the forehead as in the other case. The face is coated with a light
yellowish gray slip, and the remainder of the surface is red.

[Illustration: FIG. 424.--Head-shaped vase: Arkansas.--1/3.

[_Thibault Collection._]]

Fig. 424 illustrates a very interesting specimen of the red pottery
of Arkansas. It belongs to the collection of Mr. Thibault, of Little
Rock, and was obtained from a mound in the vicinity of that city. The
body is slightly lenticular and the human face, which is modeled upon
one side, interferes but little with the outline. The face is slightly
relieved and extends from the neck of the vase to the widest part of
the body, and laterally occupies about one-third of the circumference.
The middle portion of the face is finished with a light flesh-colored
slip, the remainder of the surface of the vessel being painted a
bright rich red. Like the preceding example, the countenance is
made to give the appearance of death or sleep. Other face-vessels of
scarcely less interest are found in the Thibault collection.


High-necked, full-bodied bottles form a decided feature in the pottery
of this province. Similar vessels are rarely found in other sections
of the United States, but occur in Mexico and South America. The forms
are nowhere else so pronounced. They suggest the well-known water
bottles of eastern countries.

In material, finish, and decorative treatment they do not differ
greatly from the vases described in the preceding section.

FORM.--Their forms are greatly and often happily varied as will be
seen from the series of outlines given in Fig. 425.

[Illustration: FIG. 425.--Scale of forms.]

[Illustration: FIG. 426.--Tripods.]

A striking feature is found in the presence of legs and stands. The
former exhibit globular, conical, cylindrical, and terraced forms,
Fig. 426. No example has any striking resemblance to European forms.
All are tripods, and are attached to ordinary forms of vessels in
a way to suggest that they are superadded features probably rather
recently acquired; at the same time legs were doubtless employed by
the precolumbian peoples. This is known to be true of Mexico, and
Central and South America. There is no reason why the mound-builders
of the Mississippi should not have discovered the use of such a
device, readily suggested by the use of supports in building, in
baking, or in using the vessels, and it would necessarily follow the
modeling of life forms. It is true that quadrupeds would not directly
suggest the tripod, but birds modeled in clay were made to rest
upon the feet and tail, thus giving three supports; besides it would
readily be discovered that more than three supports are unnecessary.

The stands attached to these bottles are not essentially different
from those described in the preceding section. They take the form of
simple bands, as seen at _a_, Fig. 427; double bands, as shown in _b_
and _c_; or perforated feet, as seen in _d_.

[Illustration: FIG. 427.--Stands.]

Compound vessels are rather rare, nearly all of the varieties being
outlined in Fig. 428. Some of these are formed by uniting two or even
three simple forms in one. Others are only partially compound and
resemble the askoidal shapes of Greek art. Attention will be called to
the probable origin of all these shapes elsewhere.

[Illustration: FIG. 428.--Compound forms.]

Life forms are found in all the groups of ware, but differ in the
manner in which they are employed. Fig. 429 shows the usual methods
of adapting the human form to high-necked bottles. Quadrupeds,
fishes, and birds are treated in somewhat similar ways. The vessels
represented in this and the four preceding illustrations belong to the
various museums of the country.

[Illustration: FIG. 429.--Adaptation of the human form.]

ORNAMENT.--The styles of decoration are not distinct from those of
other classes of vessels. The incised scroll patterns are sometimes
very elaborate, and the designs in color are perhaps executed with
greater care than in other groups.

[Illustration: FIG. 430.--Bottle: Tennessee.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 431.--Gourd-shaped vessel: Arkansas.--1/3.

[_National Museum._]]

ILLUSTRATIONS.--_Ordinary forms._--I have not thought it advisable
to figure many specimens of plain bottles, as all the varieties of
outline are repeated in the more highly elaborated or embellished
pieces. Fig. 430 represents a plain bottle of the ordinary dark porous
ware. The neck is narrow above and expands abruptly below. The body is
globular. Looking at this vessel with reference to a possible origin,
we observe its resemblance to a common form of gourd. By a review of
the collection, we find that there are many similar vessels actually
modeled in imitation of gourds. Good examples are given in the Third
Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, from which Fig. 431
is taken, and in a paper by Edward Evers in Contributions to the
Archæology of Missouri. The markings of the original are often shown
with a great deal of truthfulness in the earthenware reproductions.

[Illustration: FIG. 432.--Bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 433.--Bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.

[_National Museum._]]

Quite distinct in outline from the preceding forms is the bottle shown
in Fig. 432. The neck is high and cylindrical and the body resembles
a slightly-flattened globe. Set about the shoulder are four
medallion-like faces, the features of which are modeled roughly in low
relief. The ware is of the ordinary dark, slightly polished variety.

We have in Fig. 433 a good example of bottle-shaped vessels, the neck
of which is wide and short, and the body much compressed vertically.
There are a number of duplicates of it in the Museum. The specimen
illustrated is in the national collection, and was obtained in
Arkansas. It is a handsome vase, symmetrical in form, quite dark
in color, and highly polished. The upper surface of the body is
ornamented with a collar formed of a broad fillet of clay, or rather
of two fillets, the pointed ends of which unite on opposite sides of
the vase.

[Illustration: FIG. 434.--Bottle: Arkansas.--1/2.

[_National Museum._]]

The handsome vase shown in Fig. 434 is of a somewhat different type
from the preceding. It was obtained, along with many other fine
specimens, from mounds near Little Rock, Arkansas. It is of the dark
polished ware with the usual fire mottlings. The form is symmetrical
and graceful. The neck is ornamented with a band of incised chevrons
and the sloping upper surface of the body, viewed from above, has a
cruciform arrangement of stepped figures engraved in the plastic clay.

One of the most striking of the bottle-shaped vases is shown in Fig.
435. It is symmetrical in shape, well proportioned and well finished.
The color is now quite dark and the surface is roughened by a
multitude of pits which have resulted from the decay of shell
particles. The paste crumbles into a brownish dust when struck or
pressed forcibly.

[Illustration: FIG. 435.--Engraved bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.

[_National Museum._]]

By far the most remarkable feature of the piece is the broad, convex
hood-like collar that encircles the neck and spreads out over the body
like an inverted saucer. This collar is curiously wrought in incised
lines and low ridges by means of which two grotesque faces are
produced. The eyes are readily detected, being indicated by low knobs
with central pits surrounded each by three concentric circles. They
are arranged in pairs on opposite sides. Between the eyes of each
pair an incipient nose and mouth may be made out. The face is outlined
below by the lower edge of the collar and above, by a low indented
ridge crossing the collar tangent to the base of the neck.

The most expanded part of the body is encircled by an incised pattern
consisting of five sets of partially interlocked scrolls--an ornament
characteristic of the pottery of Arkansas.

Modifications of the simple outlines of bottles exhibit many
interesting peculiarities. Compound forms are not unusual and consist
generally of imitations of two vessels, the one superimposed upon or
set in the mouth of another. A good example in the ordinary plain dark
ware is given in Fig. 436. Similar shapes are suggested by lobed forms
of the gourd.

[Illustration: FIG. 436.--Bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

Other specimens may be seen in which there is only a gentle swelling
of the neck, but all gradations occur between this condition and that
in which forms of two vessels distinctly appear.

[Illustration: FIG. 437.--Bottle: Pecan Point, Arkansas.--1/3.]

A very usual form is illustrated in Fig. 437. Below the overhanging
lip the neck contracts and then expands until quite full, and at the
base contracts again. This feature corresponds to the upper vessel
suggested in the preceding case. Four flattened handles are placed
about the upper part of the neck and three rows of small conical
pits encircle the most expanded portion. The body is plain and much
compressed vertically. A low wide stand is attached to the base. A
number of good examples, now in the National Museum, were found in

The vase shown in Fig. 438 has also the double body, the vessels
copied having been somewhat more elaborately modeled than in the
preceding cases. A bottle is set within the mouth of a pot. The neck
is high, wide, and flaring and rests upon the back of a rudely modeled
frog, which lies extended upon the upper surface of the body. The
notched encircling ridge beneath the feet of the reptile represents
the rim of the lower vessel, which is a pot with compressed globular
body and short, wide neck. This vase is of the dark, dead-surfaced
ware and is quite plain. Four vertical ridges take the place of
handles. I have observed other examples in which two vessels, combined
in this way, served as models for the potter; one, a shell set within
a cup, is illustrated in the Third Annual Report of the Bureau of
Ethnology; another is given in Contributions to the Archæology of

[Illustration: FIG. 438.--Bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

Fig. 439 illustrates a rather graceful form of bottle. It is furnished
with a rather high perforated stand or foot, and the body is fluted
vertically with narrow, widely separated channels. The neck is high
and flaring and has a narrow notched collar at the base.

[Illustration: FIG. 439.--Fluted bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 440.--Engraved bottle: Arkansas.(?)--1/3.]

There are many good examples of engraved geometric designs upon
bottle-shaped vessels. One of the most elaborate is presented in Fig.
440. This vessel has a full, wide neck, a heavy, flattened body, and a
broad rudimentary foot. The color is quite dark, and the surface well
polished. The engraved design consists of four elaborate, interlinked
scrolls, comprising a number of lines, and bordered by wing-like,
triangular figures, filled in with reticulated lines. This latter
feature is often associated with native delineations of mythic
reptiles, and it is not impossible that this scroll work is a highly
conventionalized form of some such conception. The four volute centers
are slightly concave.

Three excellent examples of tripod bottles are illustrated in the
accompanying figures. The first, Fig. 441, is a large-necked, rather
clumsy vessel of ordinary workmanship, which rests upon three globular
legs. These are hollow and the cavities connect with that of the body
of the vessel. The whole surface is well polished and very dark.

[Illustration: FIG. 441.--Tripod bottle: Arkansas.(?)--1/3.]

The vessel depicted in Fig. 442 has a number of noteworthy features.
In shape, it resembles the preceding with the exception of the legs,
which are flat and have stepped or terraced margins. The whole surface
of the vessel is decorated with characteristic designs in red and
white upon a warm gray ground. A stepped figure, resembling the Pueblo
emblematic "rim of the sky," encircles the neck, and semicircular
figures in white appear on opposite sides at the top and base. The
body is covered with scroll work in broad red lines, the spaces being
filled in with white in the form of a thick earthy paste. Each of the
legs has one-half red and the other white.

The vessel illustrated in Fig. 443 is of ordinary, dark, polished
ware, and is entirely plain. It is peculiar in the shape of its
extremities. The neck resembles a long truncated cone, and the legs
are heavy and conical, being not unlike those of a common iron pot.

_Eccentric forms._--In this place I am able to give but one example of
what I have denominated eccentric forms. Others have been indicated
on preceding pages. The vase given in Fig. 444 has a flattish, ovoidal
body from the opposite ends of which springs a hollow arch--a sort of
double neck. This has been perforated at the highest point, and a
low recurving rim, which serves as the mouth of the vessel, has been

[Illustration: FIG. 442.--Tripod bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 443.--Tripod bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 444.--Bottle of eccentric form: Pecan Point,

Another example of this form has recently been received at the
Davenport Museum. It is in fragments, but was originally nicely
finished and painted. Illustrations of others may be seen in the Third
Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, and in Contributions to the
Archæology of Missouri. The specimen illustrated was found at the foot
of a skeleton in a grave at Pecan Point.

This shape is common to the art of many countries, and was a great
favorite in ancient Peru.

[Illustration: FIG. 445.--Owl-shaped bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

_Life forms._--In the introduction to this section, I have indicated
the many ways in which the human form is employed in the embellishment
or the elaboration of bottles. Birds, beasts, fishes, and reptiles are
treated in a similar manner.

The owl was a favorite subject with the potter, probably on account of
the upright, compact figure of the body, or possibly because of some
especial regard in which this bird was held.

A rather handsome specimen is shown in Fig. 445. The modeling is more
than usually successful, and the surface is carefully finished. The
wings are treated in a pleasing but highly conventional manner. The
plumage is indicated by alternate bands of pale-red and yellow-gray,
the latter being the ground color. These bands are outlined by fine
incised lines. The remainder of the body is painted red. The vessel
rests upon the feet and tail--a natural tripod. In many cases the head
of the bird forms the top of the neck of the bottle--the body of the
vessel itself being plain and globular.

[Illustration: FIG. 446.--Hale's Point, Tennessee.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 447.--Arkansas (?).--1/3.]

The heads of animals are treated in the same manner, as may be seen by
reference to Figs. 446 and 447.

The head shown in Fig. 446 is clearly that of a bear. The whole vessel
is painted red. Fig. 447 illustrates a small dark bottle, surmounted
by a head of nondescript character. The aperture in these vessels is
generally at the back of the head.

Fish and reptiles appear somewhat more rarely in connection with
high-necked bottles. The Davenport Museum has recently acquired a
fine example, painted in red and white, which has the head and other
features of a fish, modeled in relief upon the sides and bottom of
the body. A small, dark vessel of like character is illustrated in the
Third Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology.

In the example given in Figs. 448 and 449 the upper part of the
neck has been modified in such a way as to accommodate a curious,
medallion-like relievo of the human face, while in Figs. 450 and 451
the neck is replaced by grotesque heads, the latter being intended
apparently for an owl.

These potters dealt with the human figure in a very bold manner for
savages. They were evidently capable of representing many creatures
with accuracy, but preferred grotesque or conventional forms. A man or
a woman is generally modeled with a large body and a curious hunched
back, the vertebræ appearing along the prominent ridge. The shoulder
blades are usually shown with anatomical distinctness, if not with
precision; the arms are long and slender and the hands rest upon the
knees or the sides. The position assumed is mostly that of kneeling
or squatting, the feet being doubled up beneath and uniting with the
bottom of the vessel.

[Illustration: FIG. 448.--Bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 449.--Bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 450.--Bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 451.--Bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

These effigy vases are numerous, and greatly varied in size and color.
They are mostly of the dark ware, but are found painted plain red
or in red and white figures, some of which represent parts of the
costume, others, emblematic devices. The largest specimen with which
I am acquainted is illustrated in Fig. 452. It is well modeled, a good
deal of attention having been given to the details of anatomy. The
back is very much humped, and the vertebræ are represented by a series
of knobs. The position of the feet beneath the body is, perhaps,
worthy of notice. This is shown in Fig. 453_b_. It will be seen that
the knees, calves, ankles, and the various parts of the feet are
indicated with an approach to accuracy. The projecting back is seen
below. The bottom of the vessel is nearly flat, and the legs are
modeled in low relief upon it. Other positions are shown in Fig. 453.

[Illustration: FIG. 452.--Effigy bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

Fig. 454 illustrates a characteristic profile.

[Illustration: FIG. 453.--Positions of feet.]

One of these vases has a cross painted upon the breast of the
personage represented. The kneeling position, taken in connection with
the cross, leads to the thought that perhaps the potter lived in the
period of the French missionary, and attempted to model him in clay.
There is, however, no indication of costume, and the painting, with
the exception of the cross, is in a purely aboriginal style of design.
The ground color of the vase is, as usual, a moderately dark gray
brown, and the painted figures are laid on in thick, blackish paint.
Lines partially encircle the eyes, and extend down over the cheek to
the neck, and a line passes around the mouth and extends down over the
chin, neck, and chest to the base of the body. The horizontal bar of
the cross connects the nipples. The shoulder blades and the hands are
also painted black. The back is very curiously modeled and painted.

[Illustration: FIG. 454.--Effigy bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 455.--Effigy bottle: Arkansas.--1/3.]

There are in the collection a number of specimens that do not come
under either of the preceding heads. Of these I may mention three
small figures from Paducah, Kentucky, which represent a snake, a man,
and a deer. They are very rudely done, and are possibly modern work.

Attention should be called to some small specimens resembling
toadstools or mushrooms in shape, some of which may have been stoppers
for bottles, while others could have served as implements in some of
the arts. One of these pieces has a distinctly vitrified surface. Its
age, however, cannot be determined.

There are a few rude pipes of usual forms and of no special interest.

The comparative scarcity of these articles, so plentiful in some
of the mound districts, is certainly worthy of the attention of


I have already pointed out the fact that most of the pottery of the
Upper Mississippi region belongs to a distinct family. It has never
been as abundant as the pottery of the more southern sections of the
country and is not well represented in our museums. There are only a
few pieces in the Davenport collection and these are all in a more or
less fragmentary state. A majority are from a mound near the city of
Davenport, but a limited number came from Wisconsin.

At this time it is impossible to define, with any degree of precision,
the geographical limits of this class of ware. The tribes by whom it
was manufactured have evidently, at one time or another, occupied
the greater part of the Mississippi basin north of the mouth of
the Missouri River. Similarities of material, shape, methods of
manufacture, and ornamentation, tend to show that we must include the
greater parts of the States of Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois,
Indiana, and Ohio, in the area covered by this or closely related
ceramic groups, and indications of its presence are discovered far
beyond these limits. The mounds of Manitoba have recently furnished
examples of this class of ware, and it has decided relationships with
the ware of the Eastern and Northeastern States. It is not yet time
to draw close distinctions, as sufficiently detailed studies of the
products of the various districts have not been made.

On the shelves of our museums the difference between the two great
families of the middle and Upper Mississippi are strikingly manifest.
The ware of the former district, as already shown, exhibits variously
tinted pastes tempered with coarsely pulverized shells or potsherds;
the vases, as a rule, having full bodies, well rounded bases, and
in very many cases, narrow necks. They exhibit great variety of
decoration and no little care in finish. The northern family shows
a dark paste tempered with sand, often apparently granitic; a rough
fracture, and generally a rude finish. The shapes are comparatively
simple, often long, tapering below, and flat bottomed. The
ornamentation is totally unlike that of the southern variety.
It consists of cord impressions, incised lines, and implement
indentations arranged in figures peculiar to the district. There
are many other features that, like the subtile characters of human
physiognomy, cannot easily be described, but which are of first
importance as indices of relationship or the lack of it.

The best preserved of the Davenport specimens was described and
illustrated in the first volume of the proceedings of the Davenport
Academy. This vessel, Fig. 456, was found in a mound near Davenport
along with human remains, and closely associated with other relics,
among which were several copper implements covered with coarse woven
fabrics. Its height is eleven inches, width of aperture seven and
a half inches, and diameter of base four inches. It is estimated to
contain a little over one gallon.

There is a broad, shallow constriction at the neck. The walls are from
one-fourth to three-eighths of an inch thick, and the margin of
the rim is squared off, showing the full thickness--a strong
characteristic of the northern pottery. The form is nearly
symmetrical, and the surface is hand-smoothed but not polished. The
paste is now dark and crumbling, and shows a rough fracture. A
large percentage of sand was used in tempering. The color is a dark
gray-brown. The entire surface, with the exception of a narrow band
about the base, has been covered with ornamentation. This is executed
with considerable care, and shows a great deal of ingenuity and some
taste. There is apparently no feature copied from nature or from
ideographic art. Two or three distinct implements have been used.
A part of the neck ornament was made by rolling back and forth a
circular tool, a _roulette_, the edge of which was notched. A row of
indented nodes has been produced upon the exterior surface of the neck
by impressing upon the inside the end of a reed or hollow bone about
one-fourth of an inch in diameter. Patterns of bold, rather carelessly
drawn lines cover the body and seem to have been made by trailing,
under pretty strong pressure, the smooth point of a stylus--probably
the bone or reed already suggested. Some of the larger indentations
upon the lower part of the neck may have been made by the same
implement held in an oblique position. The use to which this vessel
was applied can hardly be guessed. It was found with the remains of
its owner, and probably contained food or drink.

[Illustration: FIG. 456.--Vase: Davenport, Iowa.--1/3.]

Another smaller vessel from the same locality and found under similar
conditions shows the same characteristics of material, form, and
ornament. There are also a few other fragments of the same ware
from this group of mounds. One of these shows that decoration by
the indentation of twisted cords was practiced here as elsewhere. A
similar vase tastefully decorated with indented lines about the neck,
and a band of decoration consisting of broad, plain, sinuous bands
upon the body, comes from a mound in Scott County, Iowa. Height six
inches, diameter the same. The rims of all these vessels are square on
the edge, showing the full thickness of the walls.

[Illustration: FIG. 457.--Vase: Wisconsin.--1/2.

[_National Museum._]]

A very interesting vessel obtained by Captain Hall from a mound in
Wisconsin is represented by a number of large fragments, probably
comprising about one-half of the walls. It must have been somewhat
larger than the vase given in Fig. 456, and in a general way resembles
it closely. It appears to be more pointed below than the other, and
has a slightly flaring rim. The walls are one-fourth of an inch thick.
The paste is coarse and is tempered with sand, as in the cases already
described. The lower part of the body is covered with nearly vertical
cord marks. The upper part was smoothed, rather rudely, for the
reception of additional decoration, which consists of several bands of
indented figures. The principal implement used was apparently a stiff
cord, or a slender osier wrapped with fine thread, which has been
laid on and impressed with the fingers, forming nearly continuous
encircling lines. Bands of short oblique lines made in the same
manner also occur. Just below the margin there is a line of annular
indentations made from the exterior, leaving nodes on the inside--the
reverse of the treatment noticed in the vessel already illustrated.
Fragments of identically marked ware from the vicinity of Prairie du
Chien may be seen in the National Museum.

A large fragment from Baraboo County, Wisconsin, shows a full body and
a slightly flaring rim. The upper part is ornamented with horizontal
lines of annular indentations, and the body is covered with rather
rude patterns made by rolling a notched wheel or _roulette_ back and
forth in zigzag lines.

Two handsome pieces of this ware were recently obtained by the Bureau
of Ethnology from a mound in Vernon County, Wisconsin. The finest of
these, which is shown in Fig. 457, is six and a half inches in height,
and in symmetry and finish rivals the best work of the south. The
paste is dark, compact, and fine grained, and tempered apparently
with sand. The color of the surface is a rich, mottled brown. The most
striking feature of the decoration consists of a number of polished
bands, extending in divers directions over the surface, the
interstices being filled in with indented figures. The lip is smooth
and the margin rounded. The exterior surface of the narrow collar is
ornamented with oblique lines made by a _roulette_, and crossed at
intervals with fine incised lines. The neck is slightly constricted,
and is encircled by a polished zone one and one-fourth inches wide,
having a line of indentations along the upper edge. The body is
separated into four lobes by four vertical, depressed, polished bands
about one inch wide. Two of these lobes are crossed obliquely by
similar polished bands. These bands were all finished with a polishing
implement, and are somewhat depressed, probably the result of strong
pressure with this tool. They are bordered by wide incised lines. The
intervening spaces are indented with a _roulette_.

[Illustration: FIG. 458.--Vase; Illinois.--3/4.]

A handsome little vessel, obtained from a mound at Albany, Whitesides
County, Illinois, is illustrated in Fig. 458. It apparently belongs
to the silicious ware of the north. The shape and ornamentation are
somewhat novel. Four large flattish lobes occur about the body, on
each of which a figure somewhat resembling a Maltese cross has been
made by incising or impressing broad, shallow lines. The remainder of
the body is covered with marks that resemble impressions of a coarse
osier basket. This specimen was collected by Mr. C. A. Dodge, and
a short description was published by Prof. W. H. Pratt in the third
volume of the proceedings of the Davenport Academy.


Our museums contain but few pieces of pottery from the Lower
Mississippi, and in the Davenport Academy collection there are
probably not more than a dozen typical examples of the leading
varieties of ware of the Gulf States. Louisiana and Mississippi
have furnished some very fine specimens of the pottery of the middle
province, more refined, perhaps, in form, material, and finish than
the ware of Arkansas and Missouri, but still differing decidedly from
the typical pottery of Alabama and Georgia. Not wishing at present
to enter upon the detailed study of the latter class of ware, I shall
present only the few examples contained in the Davenport collection.
The southern ware is characterized by refinement of outline, color,
finish and ornament, and is distinguished from that of the Middle
Mississippi by its material, which is a fine-grained paste, tempered
with very fine silicious matter instead of pulverized shells.

[Illustration: FIG. 459.--Cup: Alabama.--1/3.]

The little cup given in Fig. 459 is from Mobile, Alabama. It is
pointed at opposite ends and was probably modeled after or within
some basket or fruit shell, the impressions from which are seen on the
surface. The paste contains no perceptible tempering material.

The largest and most pleasing vessel of this class is from Alabama,
and is shown in Fig. 460.

The aperture is ten and a half inches in diameter, and the height
nine and one-half inches. The form is full above and somewhat conical
below. The walls are thin and even and the surface well polished.

The color is dark and shows the usual fire mottlings. There is no
admixture of shell material, finely pulverized micaceous matter
appearing in its place. The ornamentation is simple, but is applied
in a way to greatly enhance the beauty of the vessel. It consists of
a single broad zone of incised figures. Three zigzag lines meander the
middle of the band and the intervening triangles are filled in with
groups of straight lines. All the lines are well drawn and appear to
have been cut with a sharp point in the dry clay.

[Illustration: FIG. 460.--Bowl: Alabama.--1/3.]

Bottle-shaped vases are not found to any great extent outside of
the Mississippi Valley, and are quite rare in Alabama, Georgia, and

[Illustration: FIG. 461.--Bottle: Mississippi.--1/3.]

The piece illustrated in Fig. 461 is from Mississippi, and in most
respects is identical with the ware of the Gulf Province. The paste
is silicious, fine-grained, and quite hard. The color is slightly
ferruginous and clouded with fire stains from the baking. The body is
ornamented with the engraved figure of a bird apparently intended
for an eagle. The head, with its notched and strongly curved beak and
conventionalized crest, occupies one side. The wings may be seen at
the right and left, while the tail appears on the side opposite the
head. The flattened base of the vessel occupies the place of the body.
The lines have been scratched with a sharp point in the hardened
clay. Certain spaces in the plumes, wings, and tail are filled in with
reticulated lines.

[Illustration: FIG. 462.--Bottle: Alabama.--1/3.]

The bottle presented in Fig. 462 is embellished with a rather
remarkable design in color. The material is fine grained and without
admixture of shell. The color of the paste is a pale, salmon gray. The
surface is coated with a thick slip or enamel of whitish clay, very
fine grained and smooth; upon this the design was painted, not in the
thick earthy color employed farther north, but in what appears to be
a dark purplish-gray stain. The design upon the body is wholly unlike
anything yet described. It is developed in the light ground tint by
filling in the interstices with the dark color. The peculiar character
of this design inclines me to the view that it probably had an
ideographic origin, although possibly treated here as pure decoration.
The open hand is sometimes seen, in both the decorative and the
symbolic work of the Gulf coast tribes, and is not unknown elsewhere.
The figures alternating with the hands are suggestive of a highly
conventionalized face, the eyes being indicated by the volutes and the
mouth and teeth by the lower part of the figure, as will be seen in
the fully projected design, Fig. 463. The neck has two indistinct
bands of triangular dentate figures apparently painted in the dark
color. The bottom is flattish and without the coating of light clay.
Both paste and slip can be readily scratched with the finger nail.
This vase was found in Franklin County, Alabama, near the Mississippi

[Illustration: FIG. 462.--Painted design.]


Attention has been called to the great numbers of pieces of
earthenware recovered from the mounds and graves of the middle
province of the Mississippi Valley. In certain districts--as remarked
by one of our collectors--we have but to dig to fill museums. Such
districts must have been occupied for a long period by a numerous
people who recognized the claims of the dead upon their worldly
treasures. The burial grounds of many other sections of the American
continent are correspondingly rich in ceramic remains.

The vessels were not to any extent cinerary, and probably not even
mortuary in the sense of having been constructed especially for
inhumation with the dead. They were receptacles for food, drink,
paint, and the like, placed in the grave along with other possessions
of the departed in obedience to the demands of an almost universal

The material employed in manufacture embraced clay in all grades of
refinement, from coarse loamy earths to the refined slips used in
surface finish. The tempering materials--used in greater or
lesser quantity according to the character of the vessel to be
made--consisted of shell, sand, and potsherds reduced to various
degrees of pulverulence.

The stage of the art represented by this ware is one of hand building
purely. No lathe or other revolving device was known, although
varieties of improvised molds--baskets, gourds, and the like, such
as are known to nearly all pottery-making peoples--were frequently

The highest degree of finish known was attained by the application
of a slip or wash of fine clay which was given a good degree of
mechanical polish by means of a smooth implement held in the hand.
Ornament was produced by both flat and plastic methods. The colors
used in painting were white, black, and red earths. The plastic
subjects were incised, stamped, relieved, and modeled in the round.

The period was one of open-air baking, a moderate degree of hardness
being secured. The texture was porous and the vessels were without
resonance. The paste exhibits two distinct varieties of color which
may be described roughly as light and dark. A certain range of dark
hues--blacks, browns, and grays--were probably produced by "smother
baking." Another set of colors embracing light reddish and yellowish
grays resulted from changes in the clay produced by simple open air

A feature worthy of especial note is the great diversity of
form--indicating a long practice of the art, a high specialization of
uses, and a considerable variety in the originals copied. The manual
skill exhibited is of no mean order. Symmetry of form combined with
considerable grace of outline has been achieved without the wheel--a
result attained in still greater perfection by other American races.
Notwithstanding the great diversity of the forms of vessels, the very
primitive condition of the art is indicated by the absence of bricks,
tiles, whistles, lamps, spindle-whorls, toys, and statuettes. The
models from which the vessels were copied must have been quite varied,
comprising shells of mollusks--marine and fresh-water--gourd shells of
varying shapes, and vessels of wicker, bark, horn, and wood, such as
are in common use with our western and northern tribes.

The execution of the ornamental designs indicates a rather low grade
of skill. This is especially true of work in color, which has the
appearance of a newly acquired art. Intaglio and relief work evinces
much greater skill--the incised forms especially giving evidence of
long experience.

In subject-matter the ornament employed bespeaks nothing higher
perhaps than could be expected of our historic tribes. The great body
of the devices are geometric, and comprise such motives as could have
developed within the art or that might have been borrowed from closely
associated arts. A small percentage of incised linear designs come,
apparently, from mythologic sources, and delineate, in a rude way,
both men and animals.

The modeling of life forms in connection with earthen vessels
constitutes a feature of considerable interest, the highest known
achievement being represented by a series of vases imitating human
heads. Animal forms are generally rudely modeled, the imitation
of nature having been apparently a secondary consideration--the
associated idea or the fancy for the grotesque being the stronger
motive. The animal forms are inferior to those carved in stone by some
of the mound-building peoples.

That any of these images were idols in the ordinary acceptation of the
term is an idea that cannot be entertained. They are always associated
directly with vessels, and could not be more than representations
of the tutelary deities supposed to be interested in the uses or
ceremonies to which the vessels were assigned.

In form there are many suggestions of the characteristic utensils of
the north, in ornament there are occasional hints of the south--of
Caribbean and Mexican art.

With the Pueblo peoples, notwithstanding their proximity, there is
hardly a hint of relationship of any kind. Unlike the Pueblos, the
ethnical environment of the Mississippi Valley races would seem to
have been considerably diversified; there was less isolation; yet
there are strong indications that the art is mainly of indigenous
growth, as there is unity and consistency in all its features.

In reference to the period of culture represented by this ware, a
few words may be added. There is no feature in it that could not
reasonably be expected of the more advanced historic tribes of the
Valley. It indicates a culture differing in many ways from that of the
Pueblos, ancient and modern, but on the whole rather inferior to it.
The work of Mexico, Central and South America is decidedly superior in
every essential feature.

There are many difficulties in the way of instituting a comparison of
this work with that of the primitive work of the Old World. These I
shall not stop to present in this place. In the most general way, I
may say that the ceramic art of the Middle Mississippi is apparently
superior to that of the stone age in Europe, but little can be
inferred in regard to relative grades of culture. In classic countries
it is difficult to find its true equivalent. To reach a stage of art
correspondingly low we shall have to go behind the heroic age--to
pass down through more than the five prehistoric cities of the hill
of Hissarlik and descend into the lowest archæologic substratum. Even
this, unless it represent the first achievement of that grade of art
upon the continent, would afford uncertain data for comparative study.

A given grade of ceramic achievement runs so freely up and down
the scale of culture that alone its evidence is of little value in
determining culture status.


  Adams County, Ohio, Serpent earthwork in 402
  Age of pottery in Mississippi Valley 371
  Alabama, Pottery from 395, 396, 431, 434
  Albany, Illinois, Pottery from 430
  Ancient pottery of the Mississippi Valley, William H. Holmes 361-436
  Animal forms in pottery 383-392
  Arkansas, Pottery from 378-392, 394-398, 399-410, 413-426

  Baraboo County, Wisconsin, Pottery from 430
  Basket molds for pottery 372
  Bottles or jars, Wide-mouthed 398-411
  Burial grounds, Pottery in 434
    mounds, Pottery in 370
  Burning pottery 434-435

  Ceramic art groups 369
  Change of habitat modifies ideas 370
  Cherokee pottery 371
  Color in Mississippi Valley pottery 373, 374
  Classification of form Mississippi Valley pottery 375
  Compound vessels 412
  Contact of people modifies ideas 370
  Construction of pottery in Mississippi Valley 372
  Contributions to the Archæology of Missouri 367, 414, 418, 422
  Culture represented in pottery 430
  Curved forms 375

  Davenport, Iowa, Pottery from vicinity of 427, 428
  Differences in pottery of different regions 427, 431
  Dodge, C. A., collected pottery 431
  Du Pratz describes pottery 371

  Evers, Dr. Edward, Publication by 367, 414

  Finish of Mississippi Valley pottery 373
  Form in Mississippi Valley pottery 373
  Franklin County, Alabama, Pottery in 434

  Gulf Province in pottery 431

  Habitat modifies ideas, Change of 370
  Hall, Captain, Pottery obtained by 381, 429
  Holmes, W. H.; Ancient pottery of the Mississippi Valley 361-436

  Ideas modified by certain influences 370
  Illinois, Pottery from 430
  Iowa, Pottery from 427, 428, 429

  Jars, Wide-mouthed bottles or 398-411
  Jones, Dr. Joseph, Publication by 367

  Kentucky, Pottery from 426

  Little Rock, Ark., Collection of pottery at (_See_ Thibault).
    Pottery from mound near 415
  Louisiana, Pottery from 399, 431

  Madisonville, Ohio, Mounds at 406
  Mexican pottery head 409, 411
  Middle Mississippi province in pottery 369-426
  Mississippi, Pottery from 399, 403, 431, 432
    province in pottery, Middle 369-426
    [province in pottery], Upper 426-431
    Valley, Ancient pottery of the (W. H. Holmes) 361-436
  Missouri, Pottery from 395, 396
  Mobile, Pottery from 431
  Modification of form in pottery 373
  Mound-builders 406, 435
  Mounds, Pottery from 370, 415, 429, 431

  Natchez pottery 371

  Ohio, Mounds at Madisonville 406
    Serpent earthwork in Adams County 402

  Paducah, Pottery from 426
  Peabody Museum collections 367
  Pecan Point, Pottery from 369, 381, 390, 391, 392, 396, 397, 398,
      399, 404, 408-409, 410, 417, 422
  Pot-shaped vessels 392-398
  Potter, Prof. W. B., Publication by 367
  Pottery buried with the dead 370, 434
    from Arkansas 394-398
    of the Mississippi Valley, Ancient 361-436
  Pratt, Prof. W. H., Aid of 368, 381, 431
  Prairie du Chien, Pottery from vicinity of 430
  Putnam, Mrs. M. L. D., Aid of 368

  Scott County, Iowa, Pottery from. (_See_ Davenport).
  Serpent in pottery 402
  Shells as primitive vessels 383
    used in pottery 372
  South American pottery 411
  Storage vessels of pottery 371

  Technique modifies ornament 400-465
  Tennessee, Pottery from 381-382, 395, 397, 413, 423
  Thibault, J. H., Pottery collection of 382, 410
  Tripod bottles 420, 421

  Upper Mississippi province in pottery 426-430

  Vernon County, Wisconsin, Pottery from 430

  Whitesides County, Illinois, Pottery from 430
  Wisconsin, Pottery from 429, 430

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Note


Missing and illegible/damaged punctuation has been repaired.

Page 366: '420' corrected to '422': "445.--Owl-shaped bottle: Arkansas."
(Page) 422

Page 434: 'enployed' corrected to 'employed': "known to nearly all
pottery-making peoples--were frequently employed."

Sundry page numbers in the Index have also been corrected.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ancient Pottery of the Mississippi Valley - Fourth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the - Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1882-83, - Government Printing Office, Washington, 1886, pages 361-436" ***

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ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.