The God Man Forgot: Abstract
THE GOD That Man Forgot exhibit at The Museum of the Salish documents five millennia of Paleo-Indian migration out of northeast Asia by the ancestors of the Salish to the ancient North American Indian village of Temixwten ("Te-MOOKH-ten") near modern Vancouver, B.C.
It features 21 pieces from Temixwten -- 11 charms, 8 pocket blades, one ceremonial celt and one ceramic core -- marked with the image of a strange Neolithic northeast Asian god that mankind has forgotten, what Donald Mitchell in the Smithsonian Institution's Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 7, Northwest Coast, called "a fantastic segmented creature," called here the One-Eyed God.
Surprisingly -- considering that Temixwten is located 2,000 miles into North America -- the Chinese dragon appears on every piece in The God That Man Forgot exhibit in a variety of archaic forms, frequently in association with the domestication of the pig, the goat, the elephant, and most importantly, the horse.
Images of the domesticated horse are found on 11 pieces in The God That Man Forgot exhibit, most with a loose Chinese macrame head net with an upper lip band but no bit, a peculiarity of horse tack which dates the pieces to the 1,400 years between the domestication of the horse in northeast Asia and the invention of the bridle with a bit, or roughly 6,000 years ago. These are the oldest known images of the domesticated horse in the world.
Another surpirse: most of the pieces in The God That Man Forgot exhibit are man made ceramic, not natural stone, confirmed selectively through scanning electron microscopy testing by Microtrace. The ceramic nature of these pieces means they had to be made in Asia, since it is believed that Native Americans never manufactured ceramic stoneware in the New World. Most of the ceramic stoneware artifacts in The God That Man Forgot exhibit feature some kind of proto-glazing such as black firing, crystal glazing or englobement with Kaolin or China clay, indicating they date to the time before the invention of modern, fully vitrified glazing.
Two other pieces in The God That Man Forgot exhibit feature fully vitrified glazing. In both instances the glazed area is small and represents the one seeing eye of the One-Eyed God. On one of these, the glazed eye of god is the distinctive green called celadon, which later became a cornerstone of China's magnificant ceramic heritage. Because the Chinese have retained little or no stoneware from the earliest Lithic Phase of their long and glorious history of ceramic manufacture (i.e., the very beginning, when stoneware was an exciting new material for making stone tools), the ceramics from Temixwten, glazed and unglazed, are the oldest Chinese ceramic stoneware artifact in the world, including China.
Almost as surprising as the presence of the Chinese dragon in Temixwten is the presence of the Mexican serpent. Three pieces in The God That Man Forgot exhibit show signs of Mexican influence, and one stunning piece -- an exceptionally fine ceremonial celt -- has the Chinese dragon on one side and Mexican serpent on the other in the conjure serpent motif. So it seems that Temixwten, the One-Eyed God, and this one beautiful green ceremonial blade are the long-sought missing link between the Old World dragon and the New World serpent.