The Head Effigy Vessel addresses an ongoing relationship between the worlds of the living and the dead. The pot depicts the head and the face of a deceased ancestor, a spiritually endowed leader, whose physical remains are laden with spiritual power. "Power" has the ability to ward off disease, to increase good fortune, or to cause benefit or destruction depending upon how it is used.
Artist Mississippian, Native American
  • Head Effigy Vessel
Date between 1300 and 1500
Medium buffware with red slip pigment
Dimensions Overall: 6 3/8 × 7 × 7 1/4 inches (16.2 × 17.8 × 18.4 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase with funds from the Mary G. and Robert H. Flint Foundation
Accession Number 1986.43
Department Africa, Oceania & Indigenous Americas
On View Native American S1EE, Level 1 (see map)
1978/1979, found on the Campbell site (Pemiscot County, Missouri, USA);
Joe Holly (USA).
(Tony Berlant, Sun Circles, Santa Monica, California, USA);
1986-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Westbrook, Kent C. Legacy in Clay: Prehistoric Ceramic Art of Arkansas. Little Rock, 1982, p. 43, no. 32.

"Notes on recent acquisitions." Bulletin of the DIA 64, no. 1 (1988): 56 (ill.).

Penney, David W. and George C. Longfish. Native American Art. Southport, CT, 1994, p. 32.