Iconography of the thruston tablet


The Thruston Tablet - also known as the Rocky Creek Tablet - is among the most interesting and unusual artifacts ever found in the American South. It consists of an irregular limestone slab 19 inches long, 14 inches high, and 1 inch thick (about the size of a cafeteria tray). One side of the tablet (which we think of today as the obverse or front) is covered with engraved designs, consisting of many human forms arranged in multiple scenes. The tablet also has engraved images on the reverse, but these are faint and less distinct. The tablet is clearly Mississippian in age and probably dates to the late thirteenth or early fourteenth centuries ad. Here we present our recent studies of the tablet's imagery. We begin by reviewing past research on this object and describing our own recent investigations. We then present our analysis of the tablet's iconography, a possible interpretation of its meaning, and a discussion of the tablet's thematic and stylistic relationships. © 2011 by The University of Texas Press. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Visualizing the Sacred: Cosmic visions, regionalism, and the art of the mississippian world

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