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Signs of the Casas Grandes Shamans

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Copyright: 2007
Trim: 6 x 9
Pages: 184 pp.
Illustrations: 60 b/w illus., 8 color photos, 9 tables

CLOTH
978-0-87480-874-2
$35.00
Short

Signs of the Casas Grandes Shamans

Christine S. VanPool and Todd L. VanPool

Anthropology / Archaeology

Casas Grandes, or Paquimé, in northern Chihuahua, Mexico, was home to a religious system that swept across northern Mexico and what is now the southern United States between AD 1200 and 1450. To commemorate this religion the people of Casas Grandes created striking polychrome pots with black and red geometric and naturalistic designs on a cream base. Their pottery provides a window to Casas Grandes cosmology.

Looking through this window, authors Christine and Todd VanPool find a world centered on shamans who took spiritual journeys to consort with supernatural creatures. The shamans called upon horned serpents to bring rain, the lifeblood for farmers living in the Chihuahuan desert; dealt with snakes that held powers more potent than their bites; and raised, sacrificed, and buried macaws as ritual offerings to ensure water and fertility.

These findings challenge long-held beliefs about Southwestern religion and force a reconsideration of the importance of shamanism in the development of social differentiation in societies around the world.


Christine S. VanPool is visiting assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Todd L. VanPool is assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Missouri, Columbia.


Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Acknowledgments

1. Paquimé and the Casas Grandes World
2. Landscape and Water
3. Dualism in Casas Grandes Ceramics
4. Casas Grandes Men and Women
5. Casas Grandes Shamans
6. Creatures of the Land and the Sky
7. Mythological Creatures
8. Casas Grandes Cosmovision

References Cited
Index


Praise and Reviews:

"It is increasingly clear that Paquimé and its associated sites represent the only clear intrusion of Mesoamerican high culture into the Greater Southwest. The implications for understanding just about every aspect of protohistoric Southwestern culture are enormous."
—Carroll Riley, emeritus professor of anthropology, Southern Illinois University

"...a significant contribution to the Casas Grandes literature."
—American Antiquity

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