Paleo-Indian Archaic Woodland Mississippian European Contact

Mississippian Art

Birger FigurineBirdman Tablet

The Frog Pipes, Turtle Bowls, and Bird Men of Cahokia Art

One significant measure of social complexity is the richness of a culture's artistic expressions. By this standard alone, the Mississippian craftsmen have few equals among North American prehistoric Native American cultures. These art objects - bauxite figurines, incised shell gorgets, capes of carved shell beads, masks with copper overlay - reveal the exquisite talents of these Native American craftsmen.

Frog Effigy PipeAlthough cultivation of crops, particularly corn and squash were important components of the Mississippian diet, it is significant that these foods were rarely depicted in Mississippian art. The habitual depiction of wild animals, particularly those living in wetlands and other aquatic habitats certainly indicates the importance of these creatures in Mississippian economic and spiritual worlds.

Paleo-Indian Archaic Woodland Mississippian European Contact