Friday, November 18, 2011
The Serpent Mound is the piece I found most interesting while flipping through the book. My first thoughts about this was who built this, and why did they build it. The lines created by the mound caught my eye and made me wonder how exactly it was made with such detail that can only be truly seen from high above. I wondered if this was a design made in respect for the dead or a monument to honor the gods. It also made me question if it was a burial mound like the less ornate mounds of Cahokia.
After researching the mound further in the Art Beyond the West book I discovered that the Serpent mound isn't a burial mound but an effigy mount representing the importance of animals in Adena rituals. The books relates it to the Nazca Geoglyphs and it is believed that it was built to be viewed by the gods. The serpent is in an unraveling coil design and appears to be swallowing a large egg. It was built nearing the end of the Hopewell period (about 1070 CE). This is one of the finest examples of a mound effigy in the Mid-West.
My reaction after completing my research of the Serpent Mound still remains that of amazement. The research brought clarification as to what the mound was built for and its representation's significance. I am surprised to find that it is located in Ohio and that it is such a grand example of a mound effigy. I now feel that this work is much more important than I had originally thought.
Information from: Art Beyond the West by Michael Kampen O'Riley