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LINES OF COMMUNICATION: MIMBRES HACHURE AND CONCEPTS OF COLOR

  • Will G. Russell (a1), Sarah Klassen (a2) and Katherine Salazar (a3)

Abstract

Turquoise has played an important role in the Southwest, both today and in the distant past. Increasingly, archaeologists are coming to appreciate that the mineral was likely valued for its symbolism, rather than its chemical properties or economic worth. Thus, the color blue-green and a variety of blue-green things may have been conceptually analogous, together referencing and petitioning moisture. J. J. Brody recognized that additional symbols, while not themselves blue-green, may have likewise belonged to this blue-green complex. Over a decade ago, and while testing Brody's hypothesis, Stephen Plog convincingly argued that black-on-white hachure in Gallup-Dogoszhi pottery served as a proxy for blue-green. Here, we ask whether Mimbres artists incorporated the same symbolism. Findings suggest that Mimbres hachure was likely representative of color but not necessarily blue-green. In fact, it may have referenced yellow. Yellow and blue are often paired among the Pueblos, and interregional differences in the meaning of hachure may relate to interregional complementarity.

La turquesa juega un papel importante en el Suroeste, tanto en la actualidad como en el pasado remoto. Cada vez más, los arqueólogos reconocen que el mineral fue valorado no tanto por sus propiedades químicas o su valor económico sino probablemente por su simbolismo. Por lo tanto, es posible que el color verde-azul y una variedad de objetos de color verde-azul hayan sido conceptualmente análogos, conjuntamente haciendo referencia a la humedad y solicitando la misma. J. J. Brody reconoció que varios símbolos adicionales, aunque no de color verde-azul, también pudieron haber pertenecido a este complejo verde-azul. Hace más de una década, en un intento de comprobar la hipótesis de Brody, Stephen Plog argumentó de forma convincente que el hachurado en negro sobre blanco en la cerámica Gallup-Dogoszhi sirvió como sustituto del verde-azul. Aquí nos preguntamos si los artistas Mimbres incorporaron el mismo simbolismo. Los resultados sugieren que el hachurado Mimbres probablemente fuera representativo de un color, pero no necesariamente del verde-azul. De hecho, es posible que hiciera referencia al color amarillo. A menudo el amarillo y el azul forman un par entre la gente Pueblo, y es posible que las diferencias interregionales en el significado del hachurado se relacionen con la complementariedad interregional.

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(WRussell@AZStateParks.gov, corresponding author)

References

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LINES OF COMMUNICATION: MIMBRES HACHURE AND CONCEPTS OF COLOR

  • Will G. Russell (a1), Sarah Klassen (a2) and Katherine Salazar (a3)

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