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Doves or “Gule’-Diska Nihi”

4.5" in height X 2.5" in diameter

This piece won 2nd place in the wheelthrown category at the 1998 Five Civilized Tribes Museum’s Art Under the Oaks show and a larger piece won 3rd at their show in 2002. I call this “gule’-diska nihi” and in Cherokee it literally means “it cries for acorns”. These legless dove-like birds were found on an engraved shell cup from the Spiro Mounds in Oklahoma. Some think these figures should be defined as turkeys because of the “beard” protruding from the breast area. However, this “beard” appears on many other types of engravings from the Spiro Mounds. In fact, the major theme of the Southeastern motifs is the use of combining many different animal and human features in the designs. It has been noted that the deep V-shaped markings in the lower body are like the dorsal patterns used on many of the snake designs. The interplay of bird and snake features is a constant theme in the artifacts of the Spiro Mounds.

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