Bird Effigy Pipe

Bird Effigy Pipe

c 500 bc

Sandstone

Overall: 6.6 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm (2 5/8 x 1 x 1 in.)

Gift of Arthur George Smith 1963.272

Find spot: Farm of Jacob Vance, mile west of St. Louisville, Ohio

Description

The modest appearance of this small bird-effigy pipe, its head now lost, is misleading—the carving is fine and imagery, complex. The upper part takes the form of a bird’s body, the wings folded over the back. The section beneath the bird’s breast, intact but difficult to read, may depict a human torso with a pronounced navel and upraised forearms and hands, the palms facing outward. If so, one creature could be carrying or transforming into the other. The pipe was created by an artist of the ancient Adena people of southern Ohio. Smoke traveled through an interior channel to the mouthpiece, a small hole on the underside.

See also
Department: 
Art of the Americas
Type of artwork: 
Sculpture
Medium: 
Sandstone

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