Temixwten Artifact: 45-WH-5-1678
Description: HERE WE have another striking One-Eyed God charm.
This piece features white crystal glaze over blackfired ceramic that has some glitter in the surface. It appears that 45-WH-5-1678 was originally sculpted cold, and then chiseled and incised after it was fired the second time with the white crystal glaze.
Although somewhat damaged, there is an almost Escher-like fabric of interwoven faces and creatures here. For instance, the White Dragon that is diving down the One-Eyed God's nose is also the trunk of an elephant / dragon. And the ear of the White Dragon is formed by a little black fish on one side and the white snake that is the mouth of the Onne-Eyed God on the other.
All this is prescribed by the 5,000 year old iconography of the One-Eyed God -- as seen repeatedly in The God That Man Forgot exhibit -- but there is a big change on this charm as well: on the left side of the front charm there is also half a bone-white face with a long pendulent nose and particularly large, savage-looking teeth that is reminiscent of Cha'Ac or Chaak, the Maya God of Rain.
The positioning of the the Cha'Ac-like face behind the One-Eyed God, elephant dragon. etc. may indicate that the Cha'Ac-like figure "stands behind" the serpentine dieties -- in other words, that they or their interests are synonomous. Or it may indicate that Cha'Ac-like figure is copulating with the One-Eyed God and the elephant dragon on its nose. Or both, for it seems that everything in the realm of the One-Eyed God depends on how you look at it.
If there is a central concept implicit within the One-Eyed God imagery from Temixwten, it is this: everything means more than one thing, depending on how you look at it. In fact, having, holding and studying these entertaining Neolithic charms teaches a person to look for multi-faceted meaning in the world around them.
The Cha'Ac is a powerful figure in the pantheon of the Maya, and I believe this is the oldest depiction ever found in the Americas of a Cha'Ac-like figure with long, almost trunk-like nose hanging down an front of his teeth.
If this figure actually has any connection to Cha'Ac, then like 45-WH-5-1182 and 45-WH-5-1281, 45-WH-5-1678 then reinforces the thought that Temixwten was the "missing link" between the Old World and the New World at the and of the Neolithic, which is to say the place where they met, and their influences mingled.
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THE UNDERLYING black ceramic on 45-WH-5-1678 is very similar to 45-WH-5-1436. And 45-WH-5-1678 displays a great deal of crystal glazing like 45-WH-5-1656, except here the crystal formation is much more uniform in color an texture, and it is used as an external decoration, not as an internal aid for "unpacking" the tool contained in the core.
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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.
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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.
Technology: ceramic stoneware sculpted when leather hard, black fired; crystal glazed, fired again, and then incised and carved.
Approximate Age: 3,000 years ago
Basis for Age Estimate: I base this age estimate on the appearance of a domesticated horse head wearing what appears to be a bitted bridle, and the fact that the horse has become a secondary image, handled on the side. Neolithic Asia was just about "over" the domestication of the horse by the time this crystal glazed charm was made.
Provenance: Collected at Temixwten by the property owner. Museum of the Salish Collection.
Many Faces: here the One-Eyed God has a black fish on its face, a white snake for a mouth and a White Dragon on its nose that is also the trunk of a white elephant dragon, while the left half of the charm is a bone white death’s head.
White Horse on the Side: although somewhat damaged, the salient details of the crystal glazed ceramic horse head are still apparent. The black area at the right which is the horse’s mane was once finely worked with carving, as can still be seen at the edges. Similarly, the white snake that forms the lower jaw has its mouth open to something a the bit point, indicating this horse is wearing a bitted bridle.