Southern Scribe
    our culture of storytelling


 Art Book Review    



Early Art of the Southeastern Indians:
Feathered Serperts & Winged Beings
By Susan C. Power
University of Georgia Press, 2004
Hardcover, $39.95 (254 pages)
ISBN: 0-8203-2501-5

Lavishly illustrated, Early Art of the Southeastern Indians is a remarkable achievement. Susan Power, Professor of Art at Marshall University, presents artifacts originating in the Archaic through the Mississippi periods. Every area of the Southeast is represented. Many areas -- Etowah, Georgia; Spiro, Oklahoma; and Moundville, Alabama -- will be familiar to the aficionado. 

Divided into two major sections -- The Origins of Southeastern Art and The Art and The Language of Art -- Powers explains the differences between functional and ceremonial pieces and the techniques used by the artists and craftsmen. Many art objects were used locally while others circulated, causing cross-pollination of icons. 

Power writes about the emergence of artistic "language" and how particular pieces began to function as visual shortcuts for local styles of expression. Initially, artists used images animals and insects as their focal points, gradually shifting toward images of humans, eventually combining the two, and creating a supernatural effect. 

Combining archaeology and anthropology with a palpable love for her subject, Power has written a guide for readers with a casual interest as well as serious students of indigenous cultures. 


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews


2004, Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved