The Monster and Me: Bellaire Panther Pipes and Religious Sodalities in the Lower Mississippi Valley

dc.contributor.advisorReilly, Frank K.
dc.contributor.authorAnderson, Seamus
dc.contributor.committeeMemberDye, David H.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberConlee, Christina
dc.description.abstractWater spirit veneration has a long history in the Lower Mississippi Valley (LMV), as seen by the large corpus of ritual wares depicting Beneath World powers that are sourced to this region. In particular, Bellaire style pipes from the Early and Middle Mississippian periods (AD 1100-1400) are found throughout the Southeast, especially in the LMV. Recent scholarship has sourced much of the stone used to craft these pipes to specific areas around the Mississippi River in the LMV. Thus, it is clear that some sort of institution, probably a group of religious sodalities with a shared belief system, produced these pipes and circulated them throughout the LMV and beyond. However, little is known about the form this particular institution took -- its scale, its membership, and its ultimate objectives. Why would such an institution arise to promote the circulation of these pipes as inalienable possessions and potentially as other-than-human persons? This thesis seeks to understand the formation and elaboration of the religious sodalities behind the construction, circulation, and eventual deposition of the Bellaire pipes. As a result, it focuses on the 16 panther-themed pipes of the Bellaire style. An iconographic and ethnographic analysis of these pipes as well as a review of relevant archaeological literature suggests that the Bellaire panther pipes served as ritual paraphernalia used in a Midewiwin-like religious sodality. This group of societies was likely created to mitigate the loss of intergenerational status caused by the peculiar kinship system of Southeastern native groups that involves ranked matrilineal clans and noble exogamy.
dc.format.extent131 pages
dc.format.medium1 file (.pdf)
dc.identifier.citationAnderson, S. (2023). The monster and me: Bellaire panther pipes and religious sodalities in the Lower Mississippi Valley (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.
dc.subjectritual practice
dc.subjectLower Mississippi Valley
dc.subjecteffigy pipes
dc.subjectPlaquemine period
dc.titleThe Monster and Me: Bellaire Panther Pipes and Religious Sodalities in the Lower Mississippi Valley
dc.typeThesis State University of Arts


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