News from Temixwten: First positively-identified Neolithic Asian ceramic tool found in North America!
|Temixwten Artifact: 45-WH-5-1201
Description: WHAT A SAVAGE and powerful face.
Here the One-Eyed God has a crystal eye! And further examination reveals that the crystal eye of god is also a coiled White Dragon (see closeup below).
So once again, as in every charm included in The God That Man Forgot exhibit, the dragon forms the eye of god. And 45-WH-5-1201 is one of four charms in this exhibit on which the White Dragon, specifically, represents the eye of god.
A carved snake, curving over the bottom left side of the charm, represents the One-Eyed God's mouth, while the nose of the One-Eyed God is represented by a bridled dragon / horse figure marked with the white snake.
However, the most dramatic accented feature on the dragon / horse, which curves over the upper right portion of the charm, may seem curious. It's a part of the halter -- a band that runs over the dragon / horse's nose, just below its eyes. In fact, in terms of the deepness of the sculpting, the original artist chose to emphasize this detail more than just about everything else on the entire piece.
Why? This type of strap acrosss the nose is called hackamore, and is an ancient form of bridle from before the invention of the bit. Judging from the emphasis on this feature, this piece may date to shortly after the invention of the hackamore, which replaced the older nose band from of bridle.
Numerous pieces included in The God That Man Forgot exhibit depict the domesticated horse, but others like 45-WH-5-1491, 45-WH-5-1476 and 45-WH-5-1552 show some sort of Chinese macrame head net affair with an upper lip band as the principal means of control and restraint.
Only 45-WH-5-1201 shows a horse with a clearly defined hackamore. White reins (AKA white snakes) snake away below the dragon / horse's nose band to some very nice carved detail of woven horse tack. Six thousand years later, this trailing rein detail would persist in the barbels that trail away from the dragon's nose, long after the meaning had been forgotten, even by the Chinese.
Although 45-WH-5-1201 seems at first glance to be profoundly primitive, closer examination reveals it to be a tremendously complex and multi-dimensional piece of work.
For instance, if you study it, you realize that the lower part of the One-Eyed God's face -- the mustache and full beard -- is teeming with with countless fish in bounty unimaginable.
There are many mysteries here when you look closely...
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I believe this piece is ceramic stoneware, not natural stone. I base this on the crude white -- but fully vitrified -- glaze that thinly forms the crystal eye of the One-Eyed God.
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LIKE ALL the ceramic artifacts included in The God That Man Forgot, this piece helps time the rise of the Salish in what we now call the Pacific Northwest, beginning 7,000 or more years ago.
Both C-dragon and pig dragon charms have been found at Temixwten, indicating that the Salish migrations out of Asia to the Pacific Northwest began before the domestication of the horse became a huge, world changing development.
However, based on the evidence at Temixwten, it apears that there was a much bigger influx of immigrants to Temixwten after the domestication of the horse, maybe 6,600 years ago, and then another influx during the early Dynastic Period in China, maybe 3,500 years ago, at the dawn of glazed ceramic stoneware in China and Northeast Asia.
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NOTE: Because the Chinese apparently do not possess any stoneware from the earliest lithic phase of their long and glorious history of ceramic manufacture (namely from the very beginning when stoneware was an exciting new material for making stone tools), I believe that the Asian-made ceramic pieces in the Museum of the Salish collection are the oldest Chinese ceramic stoneware artifacts ever found anywhere in the world, including China.
I believe this is the world's oldest example of a fully vitrified ceramic stoneware glaze, as well as the oldest known depiction of the hackamore.
Technology: ceramic stoneware sculpted when leather hard, fired, and then fired with a semi-transparent whitish proto glaze, which was then incised to create the crystal eye. In addition, Kaolin clay may have been used to create the white snake that marks the piece in several places.
Approximate Age: 5,800 years years ago, or contemporary with the so-called Charles or St. Mungo Culture Phase, which marks the beginning of the Salish explosion across much of what we now call the Pacific Northwest.
Basis for Age Estimate: Because this piece depicts a domesticated dragon / horse with a bridle and hackamore, as opposed to the more archaic halter with nose band, I believe it post-dates the Temixwten horse pieces with simple nose-band bridles.
Provenance: Collected at Temixwten by the property owner. Museum of the Salish Collection.
The God With The Crystal Eye: this arresting face of the One-Eyed God features a large crystal eye, a nose formed by a bridled horse / dragon marked with the white snake, a snake for a mouth, and a multitude of fish for a beard and mustache.
Dragon Eye: this closeup reveals that “crystal eye” of the One-Eyed God is actually a coiled White Dragon. The head of the dragon, at left, has a hooked beak, and there is fine scale incising visible over most of the dragon’s body. Crude rays have been incised from the center of the One-Eyed God's eye, as in 45-WH-5-1205.
Bridled And Bitted Dragon Mouth: this magnificent Asian-made Temixwten charm features the One-Eyed God with bridled and bitted dragons for both its nose and mouth, which is shown here, and this dragon has a smaller White Dragon forming the reins that run to the bit at the corner of the dragon / horse’s mouth. There are many other small scenes, creatures and faces hidden on this piece.
Hidden In Plain Sight: The dragon and the One-Eyed God have always been evident among Salish artifacts, they just haven’t been recognized. For instance, in the Smithsonian’s Handbook on North American Indians, Donald Mitchell describes these two Salish carved stone figures from the Baldwin Culture of the Lower Fraser Canyon 3,500 years ago as a “zoomorphic stone figure” (above) and a “stone figure of a fantastic segmented creature” (right), but you could also call them a carved stone dragon -- either Chinese or Salish -- and a stone figure of the One-Eyed God, both of which are seen by the thousands at Temixwten.
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