Gods ...adorned with the embroiderer's needle: The materials, making and meaning of a taino cotton reliquary

Joanna Ostapkowicz, Lee Ann Newsom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A unique cotton Taíno reliquary-the only extant example currently known-provides an unprecedented window onto the complex mortuary and ritual ceremonies of the pre-Hispanic Caribbean. This study explores its cultural context as recorded by the early Spanish and French chroniclers and missionaries who were witness to the use and beliefs surrounding these objects in both the Greater and Lesser Antilles. It provides the first AMS radiocarbon date for the reliquary, placing it within a firmer historical context. It also examines the woven sculpture in some detail, providing a review of the manufacture process and a detailed study of the components-cotton, animal hair, lianas, gourd, resins and shell-that went into its creation. From the wrapping of important cemís (representations of spirits) in cotton, to the binding of the skeletal remains of venerated ancestors within elaborate weavings, cotton had an intrinsic value as a material that wrapped and bound the ancestors to the living and the living to each other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-326
Number of pages27
JournalLatin American Antiquity
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012

Fingerprint

agricultural product
god
Caribbean Region
missionary
witness
religious behavior
animal
Deity
Cotton
Reliquary
Ancestors

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology

Cite this

@article{4f3b68871981427e93b4beef8bf7cf55,
title = "Gods ...adorned with the embroiderer's needle: The materials, making and meaning of a taino cotton reliquary",
abstract = "A unique cotton Ta{\'i}no reliquary-the only extant example currently known-provides an unprecedented window onto the complex mortuary and ritual ceremonies of the pre-Hispanic Caribbean. This study explores its cultural context as recorded by the early Spanish and French chroniclers and missionaries who were witness to the use and beliefs surrounding these objects in both the Greater and Lesser Antilles. It provides the first AMS radiocarbon date for the reliquary, placing it within a firmer historical context. It also examines the woven sculpture in some detail, providing a review of the manufacture process and a detailed study of the components-cotton, animal hair, lianas, gourd, resins and shell-that went into its creation. From the wrapping of important cem{\'i}s (representations of spirits) in cotton, to the binding of the skeletal remains of venerated ancestors within elaborate weavings, cotton had an intrinsic value as a material that wrapped and bound the ancestors to the living and the living to each other.",
author = "Joanna Ostapkowicz and Newsom, {Lee Ann}",
year = "2012",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.7183/1045-6635.23.3.300",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "23",
pages = "300--326",
journal = "Latin American Antiquity",
issn = "1045-6635",
publisher = "Society for American Archaeology",
number = "3",

}

Gods ...adorned with the embroiderer's needle : The materials, making and meaning of a taino cotton reliquary. / Ostapkowicz, Joanna; Newsom, Lee Ann.

In: Latin American Antiquity, Vol. 23, No. 3, 01.09.2012, p. 300-326.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Gods ...adorned with the embroiderer's needle

T2 - The materials, making and meaning of a taino cotton reliquary

AU - Ostapkowicz, Joanna

AU - Newsom, Lee Ann

PY - 2012/9/1

Y1 - 2012/9/1

N2 - A unique cotton Taíno reliquary-the only extant example currently known-provides an unprecedented window onto the complex mortuary and ritual ceremonies of the pre-Hispanic Caribbean. This study explores its cultural context as recorded by the early Spanish and French chroniclers and missionaries who were witness to the use and beliefs surrounding these objects in both the Greater and Lesser Antilles. It provides the first AMS radiocarbon date for the reliquary, placing it within a firmer historical context. It also examines the woven sculpture in some detail, providing a review of the manufacture process and a detailed study of the components-cotton, animal hair, lianas, gourd, resins and shell-that went into its creation. From the wrapping of important cemís (representations of spirits) in cotton, to the binding of the skeletal remains of venerated ancestors within elaborate weavings, cotton had an intrinsic value as a material that wrapped and bound the ancestors to the living and the living to each other.

AB - A unique cotton Taíno reliquary-the only extant example currently known-provides an unprecedented window onto the complex mortuary and ritual ceremonies of the pre-Hispanic Caribbean. This study explores its cultural context as recorded by the early Spanish and French chroniclers and missionaries who were witness to the use and beliefs surrounding these objects in both the Greater and Lesser Antilles. It provides the first AMS radiocarbon date for the reliquary, placing it within a firmer historical context. It also examines the woven sculpture in some detail, providing a review of the manufacture process and a detailed study of the components-cotton, animal hair, lianas, gourd, resins and shell-that went into its creation. From the wrapping of important cemís (representations of spirits) in cotton, to the binding of the skeletal remains of venerated ancestors within elaborate weavings, cotton had an intrinsic value as a material that wrapped and bound the ancestors to the living and the living to each other.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84885086831&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84885086831&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.7183/1045-6635.23.3.300

DO - 10.7183/1045-6635.23.3.300

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84885086831

VL - 23

SP - 300

EP - 326

JO - Latin American Antiquity

JF - Latin American Antiquity

SN - 1045-6635

IS - 3

ER -