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Incised shell fragment / Southeast, Mississippian

Essay/Description

This incised shell fragment is part of the lower body section of the body whorl, or shell cup, of a whole marine shell. The shell has been incised with a small portion of a snake on the left side (object’s left side or the crosshatching at the bottom of the photo) and the bottom section of an amphisbaena tongue motif. The amphisbaena tongue motif, demonstrated on this artifact by the parallel lines that flow across the fragment and expand to allow for an area of crosshatching on the upper right section of the fragment, represents the tongue of a monster or in this case, a snake. The design executed in the Braden A style. After the artist completes incising (or removing small and precise amounts of material through carving methods) the design onto the shell, a pigment is rubbed into the incised (or carved) lines. The incised design is located on the exterior surface of the shell. The artifact possesses a smooth texture and edges. Overall shape of the artifact loosely resembles a rhomboid.

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Title(s): 
Incised shell fragment
Culture: 
Southeast, Mississippian
Date: 
700 - 1600 CE
Period: 
Mississippian
Place: 
Le Flore, Oklahoma
Materials/Techniques: 
Marine Shell, Pigment
Classification: 
Accession No: 
90.1632
Department: 
Not On View

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