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21 Faces of
From the Charm Altars at Temixwten

by Bruce Brown

Table of Contents
21 Temixwten Artifacts Presented in Apparent Chronological Order

introduction thumbnail Introduction to the Exhibit
by Bruce Brown
45-WH-5-1205 thumbnail
1) Charm
7,500 years ago

45-WH-5-1691 thumbnail
2) Charm

6,500 years ago
45-WH-5-1641 thumbnail
3) Pocket Blade

6,300 years ago
45-WH-5-1556 thumbnail
4) Charm
6,000 years ago

45-WH-5-1182 thumbnail
5) Ceremonial Celt
6,000 years ago
45-WH-5-1491 thumbnail
6) Pocket Blade
6,000 years ago
45-WH-5-1476 thumbnail
7) Pocket Blade
5,800 years ago
45-WH-5-1201 thumbnail
8) Charm
5,800 years ago
45-WH-5-1552 thumbnail
9) Charm
5,500 years ago
45-WH-5-1632 thumbnail10) Pocket Blade

5,500 years ago
45-WH-5-1656 thumbnail11) Ceramic Core

3,500 years ago
45-WH-5-1506 thumbnail12) Pocket Blade

3,300 years ago
45-WH-5-1415 thumbnail13) Pocket Blade
3,300 years ago
45-WH-5-1629 thumbnail14) Pocket Blade

3,300 years ago
45-WH-5-1513 thumbnail
15) Charm
3,300 years ago
45-WH-5-1477 thumbnail16) Charm
3,000 years ago
45-WH-5-1436 thumbnail17) Pocket Blade

3,000 years ago
45-WH-5-1710 thumbnail18) Charm

3,000 years ago
45-WH-5-1050 thumbnail19) Charm

3,000 years ago
45-WH-5-1050 thumbnail20) Charm

2,800 years ago
45-WH-5-1281 thumbnail21) Charm

2,500 years ago
With a Selected Online Bibliography.  

21 Faces of
The God That Man Forgot
From the Charm Altars at Temixwten

16) Charm

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Temixwten Artifact: 45-WH-5-1477

Description: A LARGE, well-defined and deeply sculpted dragon head dominates Side 1 of this One-Eyed God charm.

There are light traces on the neck indicating that the dragon on 45-WH-5-1477 is wearing some sort of formalized macrame harness or bridle with a lead rope running away to the left from the dragon's neck, but the domesticated horse is not a big emphasis here. And 45-WH-5-1477 shares 45-WH-5-1415 and 45-WH-5-1513's highly stylized presentation.

The faux crudess of 45-WH-5-1552 and 45-WH-5-1201 are also evident in 45-WH-5-1477, but the individual artist who created this charm was more willing to show his hand in his creation. For instance, the mouth of the One-Eyed God on Side 1 is clearly cut with a knife.

Side 2 of this charm is completely unfinished, echoing the roughness already seen in 45-WH-5-1201 and 45-WH-5-1552. But Side 2 also shows the increasing presence of the human hand. Here the generally flat, even surface appears to be diagonally smeared, upper left to lower right, as if the clay was cut with a dull knife or wire before it was fired.

* * *

LIKE ALL the ceramic artifacts from Temixwten, this piece helps time the rise of the Salish in what we now call the Pacific Northwest, beginning 7,000 or more years ago.

A Temixwten charm in the form of a C-dragon -- complete with the "ancestor in mouth" motif -- indicates 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 6,000 years ago, and then another influx during the early Dynastic Period in China, maybe 3,000 years ago, at the dawn of glazed ceramic stoneware in China and Northeast Asia. This correlates to the so-called Charles or St. Mungo Culture Phase when the Salish expanded and conquered most of the Pacific Northwest, as well as the subsesquent Locarno Beach Culture Phase observed at Salish sites in British Columbia.

The thousands of Asian-made charms and other artifacts found at Temixwten clearly demonstrate that the Salish had numbers at the time they exploded on the North American scene, but they also had superior technology.

The thing that makes this kind of ceramic tool exceptional are its edges, both their number and their sharpness. It is possible to produce a ceramic stone blade that is significantly sharper than almost any natural stone blade, except volcanic glass.

I date this piece to the last wave.

* * *

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.

Technology: ceramic stoneware sculpted when leather hard, and then fired with three dots whitish proto-glaze in the lower right corner (see photo top right).

Approximate Age: 3,300 years ago

Basis for Age Estimate: Since stylization is a characteristic of mature modes of expression, I think 45-WH-5-1477, 45-WH-5-1629, 45-WH-5-1513 and 45-WH-5-1415 are among the most recent pieces in this exhibit because of their highly sylized appearance. I estimate they are perhaps a little more than 3,000 years old, even though they are unglazed ceramic.

Provenance: Collected at Temixwten by the property owner. Museum of the Salish Collection.


Temixwten artifact 45-WH-5-1477

Dragon Head and Snake: on this charm, a large, well defined dragon head and neck (in profile, looking to viewer’s left) form the nose and eye socket of the One-Eyed God, while a rearing little white-and-black striped snake forms the larger figure’s toothsome mouth (bottom right).

Temixwten artifact 45-WH-5-1477

Dull Wire?: side 2 of 45-WH-5-1477 is unfinished. It looks like a raw plug of ceramic clay that has been cut with a knife or dull wire.


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