Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The White Shaman

The white shaman within the complex panel is in his ascendancy, leaving behind his black counterpart, his mortal body. He is headless, but his clawed feet and hands betray his feline affinities. Feathers fringe his outspread arms, enabling him to fly, and hanging from his arm is a medicine bundle that combines human, bird, and animal attributes. Surrounding the white shaman and his shadow are a number of inverted figures, their hair hanging down, signifying the symbolic death of the shaman in his ecstatic trance. Near at hand float schematic spear throwers, ready for the confrontation that lies ahead. Above him is the millipedic monster that he must pass to enter the land of the spirits, the barrier between the two worlds that separates the living from the dead. Above this serpentine obstacle, flying figures illustrate the trance state and death as experienced in this nether world. One of these figures has been reduced to the skeletal condition, his exposed backbone being an artistic convention intended to convey the rebirth from the bones, the most durable element of the body. Minor accessory figures include the delicate line drawing of a deer shaman, and a number of fantastic figures that people the supernatural world. The shaman is expected to encounter unearthly beings on his ethereal transits. These drawings may inform his audience about some of the fantastic apparitions that helped or hindered his voyage.
Found Here:

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