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A Native American Shell Mask (revised)

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Some additions and corrections to the earlier paper.
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    A Native American Shell MaskByClifford C. RicheyMay 2009  The illustrated shell mask was obtained from a large mound, known as the Ely Mound, near Kose Hill,Lee County, Virginia 1 Although described as a gorget it does not seem to have been strung by a cord.At about 5 inches in width it appears to be a minature mask. Similar items have been found near thehead and chest of the deceased in mound burials.The overall Initial Form of tis artifact is one of a square (found by drawing only straight lines aroundit). The Secondary Form is that of the sign for a male-spirit (the rounded sign based on the head of the phallus) . There is a double line with another line within it that covers the top of the head, a covered,unseen, pathway. The Nose and Forehead are created from the shape of a Tumi knife, meaning a warrior . The Nose itself is created from a place sign The Eyes are the signs for hills with theperforations creating the sign for a hole . Thus holes in the hills. From the side of the hills descend thezigzag signs for water while the multiple lines mean a flow. The direction is downward. The othercompound signs emanating from the Eyes are the signs for turning-female . The Three signs combined(the hole sign, the flowing water sign, and the turning -female sign form the image of a Bird indicating fligh ts (from the holes ). The perforation (another hole ) forms the Mouth of the Face. As we know fromprevious translaions the Mouth is a source of moisture or water such as a spring. Below the Mouth isan arrow shaped sign with another line within it. This indicates an unseen pathway to a distant-place-below (  the tapering of the place sign indicates a place in the distance). The Eyes and Mouthperforations are in the Form of the triangular female-spirit  sign.Now, the overall imagery of the object below the Mouth is that of a Mosquito Hawk (a Dragonfly). The 1Holmes, William H. 1883 Art in Shell of the Ancient Americans. Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology,1880-81, pp 295-296  four Wings ( flights ) are made up of the signs for (reading from the outside of the wing tips inward) o n-the side , a place , and the house or abode . The Mosquito Hawk, The one that tranforms below in thewater and rises up to fly away. The entire message would read something like this:The House, The Abodeofthe Water-Spirit*ItsFace,Its AppearanceaFemale-Earth-Spirit(The three triangular holes)CoveredwithinaHidden PathwayThe PlaceofThe Knife, The WarriorThe Eyes(of the Sun)Their Flightsfromthe Holesin the HillsThe Flowing Waterfar belowUnseenTurning-FemalefromThe Hole, The MouthThe SpringThe Unseen PathwayFar BelowThe Mosquito HawkThe One Who  TransformsinThe Water BelowandArisestoFly awayThe FlightsfromThe Sides(of the earth)Their PlacesTheir AbodesThese little shell masks, placed in the burials, explain what will happen to the Warriors of the Sun inthe afterlife. Shell imagery is often used in Native American compositions to indicate water (  as shellsare found in the water  ) . The shell mask is in the Form of a Human Face but because it is created out ofShell* the meaning would seem to imply a w ater-spirit.

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Aug 30, 2017

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Aug 30, 2017
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