Gottschall: Debate and Discussion
Remarks by Professor Robert Hall
Reply by Richard Dieterle
Remarks by Professor Robert Salzer
Reply by Richard Dieterle
The Fatal Flaws of the Received Interpretation
Gottschall: A New Interpretation
Remarks by Professor Robert L. Hall
The following is an email from Prof. Hall dated February 15, 2005, the contents of which were published in the Legacy newsletter. Since they were published, it is appropriate to publish a response here.
Dear Mr. Dieterle:
I have just returned from a trip to California and have quickly read through your revised interpretation of Gottschall that Bob Salzer kindly forwarded to me. My first impression was that the Proto-Ho-Chunk, and before them the Proto-Chiwere-Ho-Chunk, certainly have more claim to the Gottschall area through times long past than you would grant them, and certainly more than do the Sac and Fox, who did not even arrive west of Lake Michigan prior to ca. 1650.
Second, you spend much time arguing who the "Red Horn" figure in the pictographs is not while ignoring relevant and long available suggested explanations of who he is. I am the first one to suggest the relationship of the Red Horn story to the Gottschall pictographs, and I did not identify the figure with what you call pendulant breasts as Red Horn but as his second son, the son by the giantess. This son did not have little human heads on his ears in the manner of his father and brother but on his breasts. What you see as pendulant breasts I see as tattooed Long Nosed God masks.
The LNG masks tattooed on the breasts have the same shield outline as the copper and shell LNG earrings, have the long nose drawn with an attempt at rendering a 3-dimensional perspective, and have the nipples where the mouth should be. One of the otherwise unexplained features of the little heads is that they can stick out their tongues. This is precisely what would happen when a nipple within the tattooed face would have been stimulated and had become tumescent. I explain this and more in the chapter on the LNG in my book An Archaeology of the Soul: North American Belief and Ritual (U. of Ill. Press, 1997).
I do not dispute the association of the Gottschall rockshelter with the Red Horn myths. In fact, I would expect that a shrine to Red Horn would be semi-subterranean. || I have compared his story to certain episodes in the Popol Vuh of the Quiche Maya and compare Red Horn himself to Hun Hunahpu, who, like Red Horn, died and was reincarnated by this sons. || Hun Hunahpu in Quiche Maya becomes Hun Ahau or 1-Ahau in Yucatec Maya. Hun Ahau or Hunhau was a name associated with Venus at heliacal rising (emerging as Morning Star after ca. 292 days in the Underworld as Evening Star) and was also apparently the Yucatec Death God. || Recall that in Central Algonquian myth Manabush's wolf brother similarly died and was resurrected and became the Lord of the Spirit World.
Red Horn had another name, He-Who-is-Struck-by-Deer-Lungs. I have explained this by pointing out that Red Horn was the equivalent of the person who in the Calumet ceremony was the recipient of a thrust by the calumet that symbolically mediated his reincarnation. The calumet had an attachment of owl feathers that represented deer lungs. The calumet shaft was a symbolic wind pipe, and the act of requickening involved the introduction of a symbolic quickening breath. All is about death and rebirth, rituals relating to which had a deep history in the Midwest and within the Siouan stock.
Perhaps that is enough for now. Bob Hall.
Reply by Richard Dieterle.
"the Proto-Ho-Chunk, and before them the Proto-Chiwere-Ho-Chunk, certainly have more claim to the Gottschall area through times long past than you would grant them, and certainly more than do the Sac and Fox" — In an earlier version of this page, I had advanced the notion that what we find at Gottschall might be attributable to the Fox or Sauk tribes. Hall is certainly right on this point, so I revised my thesis accordingly.
However, do we know that they displaced the Hočągara from this area? Do we indeed know anything about what language group occupied this area before the Sauk and Fox? The Bear Clan of the Hočągara have a myth (The Hočąk Arrival Myth) in which they cross Lake Michigan and are greeted by the Menominee who were there first (according to the Bear Clan). However, this is a myth and not history. Nevertheless, if it is based on fact, then the Fox and Sauk may have received hospitalitas from the Menominee just as did the Hočagara according their arrival story, in which case the Menominee might have been the occupiers of this area before the Sauk and Fox.
I notice that the tonsures of the two young men that I have identified with the Twins is closer to the Sauk, Fox, Chiwere, and some of the Dhegiha Sioux tribes of this area than it is to the double braided tonsure of the Hočągara and a number of other Siouan tribes.
"Second, you spend much time arguing who the "Red Horn" figure in the pictographs is not while ignoring relevant and long available suggested explanations of who he is" — Is it even a "he"? Well, if the scene has no convincing connection to Redhorn, and the figure in question is, for instance, a woman, then it is time to move on.
"I did not identify the figure with what you call pendulant breasts as Red Horn but as his second son, the son by the giantess. This son did not have little human heads on his ears in the manner of his father and brother but on his breasts. What you see as pendulant breasts I see as tattooed Long Nosed God masks" — Part of the reason why I see them as breasts is that the figure in question seems to be dressed as a woman and to have other female features. You speak of LNG masks. Is this figure then, not Redhorn the second, but an impersonator? How do you draw that inference? How do you know that they are tattooed?
If he is the second son of Redhorn, then what is going on in the painted scene? Salzer says that it is the ball game related in the Redhorn literature (q.v., 1, 2). However, our literary sources say nothing about Redhorn's sons in that context for the simple reason that they have not yet been born. Redhorn's sons rescue the severed heads of their father and his friends from the Giants, but no one has suggested that the painting represents this episode. That would be because (under your interpretation) there is only one son of Redhorn present, when two of them went to the rescue; those rescued seem to be whole and not in the form of severed heads. Where is Redhorn then? etc., etc.
"The LNG masks tattooed on the breasts have the same shield outline as the copper and shell LNG earrings, have the long nose drawn with an attempt at rendering a 3-dimensional perspective, and have the nipples where the mouth should be." — If the mouth is a nipple, then where are the eyes? Where are the noses? All I see is shovel-shaped outlines with dots in the center. If it is like anything, it is like Phillips & Brown's "spudlike" object, which is arrowlike, with a dot in the middle of the arrowhead. This decorative devise, as far as I can determine, has no connection with the LNG maskettes.
"I do not dispute the association of the Gottschall rockshelter with the Red Horn myths. In fact, I would expect that a shrine to Red Horn would be semi-subterranean." — Why is that? In the story "Intcohorucika and His Brothers," he and his brothers are identified with stars. He is captured and imprisoned in the Waterspirit underworld, but sets it aflame and escapes. The Giants guarding the heads from the sons of Redhorn are instructed to look up. Here is what I say of Redhorn in the "Sons of Earthmaker":
"Some say, although there is no universal agreement on this point, that Earthmaker next created He who Wears Human Heads as Earrings, better known as Hešúčka, "Redhorn." His role in the mission to rescue humanity is obscure, and he was probably introduced into the set at a recent date in order to make them five in number to correspond to the cardinal points (the four quarters plus the center). Redhorn had miniature heads in his earlobes. They detracted from his seriousness by constantly sticking their tongues out at people, winking at them, and generally making funny faces. Redhorn had some success against the Giants, but later was actually killed by them. After the passing of many years, his sons were finally able to revive him. Nevertheless, he too was recalled by Earthmaker, although nothing is said of his ruling over any kind of paradise."
The other sons of Earthmaker rule over either celestial or subterranean paradises, except the last, Hare, who rules over this earth.
The problem with associating Gottschall with the Redhorn myths is that it does not seem to tell any Redhorn story. If it is the lacrosse game, where are the sticks and why are some players in anthropomorphic form and others not? Where is the goal? Where's the ball? Where are the rest of Redhorn's friends (Wolf and Otter)?
If it is Redhorn Jr. out retrieving his father's and his father's friends' heads from the Giants, then where are the detached heads? Where is Redhorn Jr.'s twin brother? Who or what are the two little birds? One could go on, but this proposed identity really never gets off the ground.
Forgive my levity, but the basic action at Gottschall is a bird-whacking story.
"I have compared his story to certain episodes in the Popol Vuh of the Quiche Maya and compare Red Horn himself to Hun Hunahpu, who, like Red Horn, died and was reincarnated by this sons." — Was Redhorn really reincarnated by his sons? He exists contemporaneously with them at some point. I wonder if it is not more like the mystery of Demeter and Kore, where the latter is said to be another form of her mother. This is more like the Christian Trinity.
I might add that under my interpretation everything falls into place without the need for a ticket to Mexico.
"Hun Hunahpu in Quiche Maya becomes Hun Ahau or 1-Ahau in Yucatec Maya. Hun Ahau or Hunhau was a name associated with Venus at heliacal rising (emerging as Morning Star after ca. 292 days in the Underworld as Evening Star) and was also apparently the Yucatec Death God." — I hope you are not associating Redhorn with Venus (specifically Morning Star). I tried that — it doesn't work.
Besides, this pertains to the identity of Redhorn more than the content of the Gottschall painting. There is as yet no evidence at all that Redhorn is in that painting.
"Recall that in Central Algonquian myth Manabush's wolf brother similarly died and was resurrected and became the Lord of the Spirit World." — Among the Hočągara, this myth is played out by one of the four Thunderbird brothers, although the dead brother is not actually resurrected.
"Red Horn had another name, He-Who-is-Struck-by-Deer-Lungs. I have explained this by pointing out that Red Horn was the equivalent of the person who in the Calumet ceremony was the recipient of a thrust by the calumet that symbolically mediated his reincarnation. The calumet had an attachment of owl feathers that represented deer lungs. The calumet shaft was a symbolic wind pipe, and the act of requickening involved the introduction of a symbolic quickening breath. All is about death and rebirth, rituals relating to which had a deep history in the Midwest and within the Siouan stock." — I had looked for the symbolism of this name in the Hočąk mythology surrounding deer. Perhaps that is considered a bad method. I am not familiar with this Hočąk calumet ceremony.
As far as I know, the Hočągara are the only ones who believe in reincarnation outside the Medicine Dance, which is a relatively recent phenomenon in response to Christianity.
In summary, I think that if you want to argue that the scene(s) depicted at Gottschall are about events surrounding Redhorn, there has to be some basic convincing correlation of the characters and actions of the myths with what is seen in the pictographs. That basic first step of inference is what is lacking here. As a matter of fact, I can't find anything about the Gottschall figure called "Redhorn" that suggests that this is his identity — not even "his" sex.
Remarks by Professor Robert Salzer.
This defence of Salzer's thesis comes from Legacies News: Newsletter of Cultural Landscape Legacies, Inc., 3 (April 2005): 8-9. I quote it in full. In the Newsletter it follows an edited version of my thesis contained on this website.
by Bob Salzer
Ed. Note: Below is only a small portion of Salzer's debate with Dieterle.
There is an abundance of human figures shown in fine detail in engravings on (mostly broken) marine shell cups found in the Spiro Mound in eastern Oklahoma in the 1930's. Philip Phillips and James Brown have produced a remarkable analysis of these. Most relevant to the task at hand is their definition of the "Braden A" style (see below). It is now believed that this style developed in and around the Cahokia Site, near East St. Louis, Illinois by A. D. 1100 (or slightly earlier). Most of these humans have "beaded forelocks," but all are very short. One sculpture (in the round), is done in the Braden A style and has a circular disc on the top of his forehead. Two such discs have been found archaeologically — one made of antler or bone, the other of copper.
The bone disc mentioned above has about twenty "rays" as a border around the edge. This is similar to, but not identical with, the Gottschall discs. Significance may be attached to the fact that the Gottschall discs appear to have seven such rays.
The paintings at Gottschall are faded and reveal the effects of time. One of my friends has suggested that the "bird" at the end of the long forelock on the Red-haired Giantess ("Ghost") may once have had two more (hind) legs. This would, of course, make it look more like a bear. In the Iowa version of the Red Horn story, the Giantess is a "she-bear" which, in my interpretation, makes her [an] appropriate bride for RH (Thunderbird). || Attaching an animal to the end of a line coming from the forehead was a way for the Cheyenne at least to identify the name of the individual depicted in the ledger book art of the late 19th century on the plains.
I think that, for whatever reason, the human heads that RH had as earbobs have been painted over. Recently, a painted composition done in the style of the group at Gottschall has been discovered. The main human figure does have a conventionalized human head where the ear was located. Merlin Red Cloud, Sr., gave me the Ho-Chunk word for "He-who-has-human-heads-as-earrings," after which he mused on the parsing of the word. It could be construed as meaning wearing shell earrings. Also, he considered the possibility that the name might relate to a necklace, rather than an earring. He thanked me for causing him to ponder the name in ways that he had not done before. About 36 such human heads have been found archaeologically. Recall that Hall called them Long Nosed God Maskettes (LNG). Several human burials have been found in the Cahokia area in Illinois that appear to be wearing such artifacts near their ears. Where it is possible to tell, the individuals were males. Dating is more difficult: ca. A. D. 1000-1400? The LNG's are made of copper or marine shell, with the latter more common in the upper Midwest (NW Iowa to NW Wisconsin to central Illinois). The sculpture referred to in #11 above also is wearing the LNG's as earrings. He (definitely identified by genitalia) has a single long braid on the left side of his head. He is also wearing a shawl or cape made of feathers. Traces of pigment suggest that, even though the sculpture was done using a reddish rock, it was once painted red. If the friends of RH were depicted in their human form, how would we recognize/identify them?
You may be right to call the RH figure female. However, the device (pendant breasts), and which Hall interprets as LNG's, occurs elsewhere in prehistoric art done in the Braden A style. Once on an engraved marine shell cup on top of the Akron Grid (from a mound near Akron, Arkansas); the other on a marine shell fragment that is too small to relate to what surrounds it (Cahokia Site, Illinois). I do not disagree with Hall's idea; I think that the RH figure represents himself and his sons at the same time — a higher level of meaning, known only to the elders. The hair on RH appears to be close-cropped to me. || Pointed chin: note that the Giants (Stump and Flesh), like RH, have pointed chins. Since genitalia are only rarely indicated in the Braden A style, we cannot be certain, but all of the humans appear to be males on the engraved marine shell cups. By far and away, the fashion was to wear a kilt-like garment that has a hem just above the knee.
Sorry, I still think the figure (RH) is a male.
Richard, I can not express how much I appreciate the time and the thought you have put into your "New Interpretation." I have been (happily) led down a path that lets me explore new data and ideas. I am not eager to leap to join you, because I still think that the RH story is the simplest way to explain the paintings at Gottschall. However, I have learned from my sessions with elders (both Ho-Chunk and Potawatomi) that their understandings are not always so simple. I have also learned that phenomena may have multiple "levels" of meaning and understanding, knowable only to people who have spent their lives studying. If you will allow me to paraphrase your opening comments: it is not the answers that are important; it is the questions that are being asked.
Reply by Richard Dieterle.
"a small portion" — I don't know who the editor is, or where (s)he got this idea. This is the first reply to my thesis that Prof. Salzer has presented. If this is only a small part of his objection to my work, that is a different matter. However, that does not seem to be the contention. In the introduction to the excerpts from my webpage, the editor says, "A lively email debate has ensued among Dieterle, Bob Salzer and Robert L. Hall." I received one critique via email from Prof. Hall, which I answered, and that has been it.
"this style developed in and around the Cahokia Site, near East St. Louis, Illinois by A. D. 1100" — How does this jibe with "... the Red Horn Composition can be confidently dated to A. D. 900-1000, or slightly earlier"?1 The Braden A style couldn't have developed, as everyone seems to think, in Cahokia ca. 1100, and be found at Gottschall, before it was invented. This forces you to say in your book, "The Gottschall date for the panel at about a century before this time holds the implication that the panel painter may well have been involved in the development of Mississippian style."2 How likely is that?
"have 'beaded forelocks', but all are very short" — Given what you have displayed in your book and articles, the "forelocks" shown in the Gottschall paintings are pretty long for forelocks. If we were to interpret the double-helices at Gottschall as being forelocks, they would in one case extend nearly all the way to the ground! In the Redhorn figure (following your terminology), it extends all the way to the hand, and in the Flesh picture, all the way to the elbow. There is a Mississipian gorget with a forelock that long (although depicted differently), but the figure so represented also has a tongue as long as his forelock.3 These simply cannot be forelocks, especially in the context of a game. (Relatively) short Mississippian forelocks are all well and good for dance and ceremony, but in a game with life and death stakes, huge forelocks, the kind that you can trip over, or which will make it difficult to use a lacrosse stick, could literally be fatal. Besides, the "forelocks" come out of the rayed disc, not the head, and certainly not out of the rest of the hair. Here the interpretation seems to condition the actual perception of the art work, and this is not the only place where this distortion occurs.
"One of my friends has suggested that the "bird" at the end of the long forelock on the Red-haired Giantess ("Ghost") may once have had two more (hind) legs. This would, of course, make it look more like a bear." — What is meant by "may once have had two more legs"? Does he see faint outlines, or is he saying that we could imagine it having two more legs? I can imagine it with 8 legs. Or I can imagine that it's a lump of buffalo manure. Dr. Rorschach could do better still. So what? By the way, if you ever see a bear with a beak, shoot the son-of-a-bitch, it will secure your fame more than anything in your dig (unless you find a Phoenician tablet at the bottom). Only the Ioway make their counterpart to Redhorn have a bear as a bride, but you call her a "Giantess," following the Hočąk version. So what's it going to be, a bear or Giantess? The turtle is depicted as a turtle, the large bird as a bird, the humans as humans — but, the "bear" for some reason is depicted as a human and made known by a pictograph, one with double twisted name-lines extending downwards, connecting to — a bird! If the double helix is a name-line to a bear, then what are the other double helices? What is the one that terminates in nothing — is he Mr. Nothing? And if the male warrior (whom you identify as a female) is a covert bear, then what of your remark, "If the friends of RH were depicted in their human form, how would we recognize/identify them?" The same would of course go for their opponents. The warrior that you call "female," a fellow wearing at most a breach cloth and no shirt at all, is clearly in human form. If the depiction standard is to show them in human form with name-lines indicating who they are, then why was this convention not followed for the other figures?
"RH (Thunderbird)" — Why would her being a bear make her a suitable bride for a Thunderbird? Thunders marry only Night Spirits, not bears. If you are thinking of Hočąk clans, given the age of the painting, we do not know what the moiety alignment might have been at that time. A cursory examination of the clans and moieties of the Chiwere and Dhegiha Sioux show that clans tend to be more stable, but moieties are subject to shifting alliances. We don't know whether the Bear Clan and the Thunder Clan were at that time in different moieties. Besides, the behavior of mythological figures is not made to conform to Hočąk exogamous tradition, since the spirit world is not seen in those terms.
To say that Redhorn is a Thunderbird is controversial. Oliver LaMère in his book assumes that he is, but Sam Blowsnake, in the Redhorn Cycle, explicitly says that he is not, and put this denial in Redhorn's own mouth. One can go on and on giving reasons for why he probably isn't a Thunderbird:
1. Redhorn has an identity with the arrow. This is not known among the Thunderbirds. They shoot, but always with stones, and not with feathered, wooden projectiles propelled by bows. Unlike the Thunderbirds, Redhorn does not shoot anything from his eyes, nor does he trample the earth with his feet (symbolic of conquest). Most importantly, he does not employ lightning as a weapon, the weapon always used by Thunderbirds.
2. Redhorn has no identity with clouds, this is given over to his brother Bladder.
3. Nor does he ever assume the form of a bird. His offspring do not hatch from eggs.
4. The Thunderbirds marry Night Spirits, but neither of Redhorn's wives bears any relationship to Night Spirits.
5. Although he goes on a raid with spirit allies against the Waterspirits, they cannot be identified as his habitual enemies. Rather Redhorn's enemies are Giants, which are never depicted as having animosity or warfare with the Thunderbirds as a tribe. Redhorn, as Įčorúšika, does battle the Waterspirits in the underworld, but this is because he is a star.
6. Įčorúšika's identity with a star would seem to preclude his identity with Thunders who are associated with clouds. Redhorn had 10 brothers, the first 7 were foxes who betrayed him, but, the three remaining brothers were in reality stars. The most brilliant of the three stars, the yellow-white one, is Įčorúšika. The blue one is Kunu, and the red one is the second youngest brother. These three stars are grouped together. When the stars set, they fall into the underworld governed by the Waterspirits; but in the end, they rise up again — hence the combat. He is associated with both the loon and the otter, which also dive into the underworld and then return to the upper world. His first wife's beaver affinities also fit this scheme. The Thunderbirds have no such associations.
7. Thunderbirds do not have little heads on their ear lobes or chests; in bird form, Thunderbirds have neither ear lobes nor nipples.
8. Redhorn is chief of the Heroka, diminutive beings that have no connection whatever with Thunderbirds.
9. The Thunderbirds in humanoid form are bald with red cedar (juniper) wreathes on their heads. Nothing like this is said about Redhorn, even though he is habitually in human form.
10. The chief of the Thunderbirds (Great Blackhawk) is concerned only with Storms as He Walks, and not with Redhorn. He wonders why the former is even living with the humans, but he never entertains a thought about what Redhorn is doing there.
11. It takes Storms as He Walks to persuade the Thunders to give the humans the Thunderbird Warbundle, but if Redhorn is a Thunder himself, then why isn't Redhorn making this petition to his own chief? Why can't Redhorn just leave his sons a Thunderbird Warbundle?
12. In the Ioway version, his counterpart does not seem to be a Thunderbird either.
Also, another point to be made about Redhorn is that he is a relatively late comer to the scene of super-heroes. Evidence:
1. The other sons of Earthmaker are each assigned a heaven over which to rule, but Redhorn is not.
2. Redhorn is often left out of the stories of the missions of the sons of Earthmaker. No other of Earthmaker's sons is omitted in the telling of that story and its variants.
3. His mission is never clearly defined. The other Sons of Earthmaker are all to show men how to live as well as to vanquish their supernatural opponents. Redhorn, on the other hand, only helps those humans with whom he happens to be living to fight the Giants. When he or his sons fight spirit enemies, they are not rescuing the human race in general.
4. The failings of the other Sons of Earthmaker are clearly defined in moral terms, but it is not clear in what way Redhorn fell short.
5. The stories about Redhorn, or more exactly, Man Heads for Earrings, are only found among the Hočągara and the Chiwere (and there only attested for certain among the Ioway). Nothing like him is found among the southeastern tribes, the inheritors of the Mississippian culture. He may not even be a common heritage, but may have spread from the Hočągara directly to the Ioway.
So Redhorn seems, as Radin himself thought, to be a late addition to the scheme of things. He might not even have existed as such in ca. 1000 A.D.
"Attaching an animal to the end of a line coming from the forehead was a way for the Cheyenne at least to identify the name of the individual depicted in the ledger book art of the late 19th century on the plains" — I went through the winter count books including those of the Cheyenne, Sioux and Hidatsa. It seems from my recollection, that almost every case, perhaps literally every case (in my memory), the name-line is always, as far as I can recollect, a single, solid line, not wavy or corkscrew, etc.
"the human heads that RH had as earbobs have been painted over" — The only feature by which you could hope to identify this apparent woman as Redhorn would be the human-headed earlobes, yet there is nothing there. Furthermore, the overpainting is actually well below where the ear would be. If the ear or the earlobes had heads originally, then you would think that at least the ear would be visible above this overpainted tail tip. She doesn't have any of Redhorn's other attributes either. Where is the red horn (red scalp lock)? Where is the famous arrow motif by which he might be identified? If he is, as you seem to insist, a Thunderbird, then why is he not baldheaded with a wreath of juniper?
How is the existence of (overpainted) ear-heads consistent with your suggestion that the apparent breasts of this figure are in reality the two heads on the breasts of one of Redhorn's sons, as suggested by Hall? This would commit you to a character who has heads on both his ears and breasts, a personage unattested in the literature.
"in the style" — do you mean in Braden A, or do you mean that it is a lacrosse game with all the same characters engaged in back and forth action with a ball and lacrosse sticks? If that man in that other cave has human heads for ears, then he is almost certainly Redhorn, or at least Man Heads as Earrings. But what does this do for your interpretation of the paintings at Gottschall?
"Where it is possible to tell, the individuals were males" — So what? Your painting doesn't have an example of a person with human heads for earrings.
"If the friends of RH were depicted in their human form, how would we recognize/identify them?" — you have suggested a number of ways yourself already. But in fact it is an odd question. Who is "we"? Those involved in the cult would have no trouble, and those who did could have been instructed. Why would they even want casual visitors to the rockshelter to know anything? Many rites are secret, and for all we know this cult could have been like the Medicine Rite in that respect. Nevertheless, to those who know the stories about the Twins, it is pretty apparent who the characters are. The only one that is difficult to interpret is the one whom you call "Red Horn." However, it is easy to reject that interpretation, whoever the character is meant to be.
"occurs elsewhere in prehistoric art done in the Braden A style" — And are the figures on which they occur interpreted as Redhorn's sons? Even the maskettes have more to them than a nose, so if these drawings are cases of LNG maskettes being worn over the nipple, then where is the rest of the face? In the only known example of the depiction of a LNG maskette (worn as an earring) in the Braden A style (and unique to it), the whole face can be seen clearly.4 On the other hand, in plains Indian pictography, we see sexually identifying marks portrayed through the overlaying clothing. An excellent example of this is in the portrayal of a slain Crow berdache in the Hardin winter count of 1848-49.5 This is done specifically to identify the sex of the person portrayed, and the same may be the case for the RH figure at Gottschall.
Also, you practically claim that the Gottschall artist(s) is the originator of Braden A. There is in fact only one figure that at all looks as if it were an out-of-place Braden A, and that is the so-called RH figure. I notice that the Akron lines in Braden A examples extend to the face, as though they were painted lines such as you see on your sandstone head. However, such a "pin-stripe" design of face painting was known among the Fox as recently as the 1830's. The pin-stripe, face painting pattern may have been in general use for centuries and over a widespread area. The "Akron lines" clearly represent a shirt in the Gottschall figure, as they seem to terminate, as you yourself have suggested, in a fringe. In addition to diagonal shading and cross-hatching, plains pictography also uses parallel vertical lines to represent a shirt.6 "RH's" wrist band made of hide with a fringe ornament, which is attested in numerous XIXᵀᴴ century paintings, is also depicted by means of pin-striped lines, which are therefore neither paint nor tattoo. As to the "epaulets," I believe that you mentioned that you had encountered them in a George Catlin painting. If one uses such lines to depict a shirt, the epaulets might naturally be represented in the way we see in the Gottschall painting. Should we be surprised if they are so represented elsewhere? As to the fork behind her eye, it appears to be (as the upper dotted line suggests) tripartite. That fork is utterly different from that of the Thunderbird and also different from both the bipartite and tripartite, eye-enveloping forks used in Braden A. In fact, the styles employed at Gottschall have an eclectic look, strongly suggestive of the hands of different artists. The true center of the composition is the small bird being attacked by Ghost. It is done in what I would term a "filamentary" style, exactly like that of the buffalo in panel 3. This style of painting seems to have no relationship at all to Braden A, and in many ways, stands in opposition to it.
"I do not disagree with Hall's idea" — it's not at all clear to me what his idea is. There is no focus on the action taking place in the painting. We have no story telling of Redhorn Jr. confronting Giants with that group of spirits in tow. Without literary attestation, the identity of the contested figure is a pure flight of imagination. In a note to you that he published in his book, he says, "The faces of the maskettes are of the same outline as that found around each nipple on the pictograph. I first interpreted the two parallel lines above the 'face' outline as the red horn. I now feel that they represent the long nose of the long-nosed god in a face-on perspective which the artists could not quite handle."7 So what do we have here, cubism?
You certainly seem to disagree with Hall when you suggest that the faces on the ears of your proposed Redhorn have been painted over. If Hall is right, they shouldn't even be there.
"the RH figure represents himself and his sons at the same time" — This really ties things into a knot. It is very difficult to argue that the figure is a male at all, let alone that he is Redhorn — but now you want to say that he is both Redhorn and his son! And not only that, but that he is one and the same as both his sons simultaneously. This latter is unattested in the literature. We do not have a story of Redhorn's sons playing lacrosse against the Giants, do we?
"The hair on RH appears to be close-cropped to me" — It certainly starts out that way, but where the tail tip comes to an end at the back of her head, there is a filamentous composition which certainly could be hair. The central figure in this Catlin painting below (entitled, "The Women's Ball Game at Prairie du Chien"), has her hair tied back, as do the other women, it appears. Hers, however, has some resemblance to the Gottschall woman. I have subsequently adduced a remark upon this subject by Jipson who confirms that this is the style adopted by Hočąk women.
Notice that her dress may well be hemmed at or above the knees and may even be two-pieced. I don't know what tribe is depicted, but the Hočągara had settled in the Prairie du Chien region and may have been there at the time of this painting in the 1830's.
"Pointed chin: note that the Giants (Stump and Flesh), like RH, have pointed chins." — I would say that the two male warriors, Stump and Flesh, have almost no chins at all. They are both "square jawed," especially Flesh. I have scaled and aligned these three figures up from the tip of their noses to their throats, and oriented them in the same direction. I then took a measure of the angle of the chins for each, the results of which can be seen below.
Their order is Flesh, Ghost, and their presumed mother. I think that here too we have a case of perceptual distortion created by a preconceived interpretation.
"but all of the humans appear to be males on the engraved marine shell cups" — that must be interesting to those studying the Mississippian Culture. The people at Gottschall underwent a number of "phases" according to your tabulation: Effigy Mound, Eastman Phase; Kekoskee Phase; and Emergent Oneota Phase. Then you say, "It is important to point out that some 'phases' appear to be missing. ... We have no evidence for ... Mississippian (Lohman and Stirling phases: A. D. 1000-1200) ..."8 Perhaps Oneota is Mississippian, but isn't that contention controversial? In any case, the painting isn't Mississippian at all.
"the fashion was to wear a kilt-like garment that has a hem just above the knee" — so in the complete absence of any depiction of females, as you say above, how then do we know what women wore? Also much is made of the fact that the kilts that the Mississippians of Braden A wore may be termed "divided skirts." This is not the kind of skirt shown in the painting. Even the most cursory examination shows emphatically that the Gottschall dress is not Mississippian.
"the simplest way" — When you say that its the "simplest" explanation, I have to scratch my head. The apparent female has to be interpreted as a male, and an apparent male has to be interpreted as a female. You have to suppose that Redhorn, the figure who in the literature has the lacrosse game with the Giants, is here in the body of one of his sons, not his doppelgänger, but the one with faces on his breasts. Then you have to suppose, after Hall, that what seems plainly to be a nipple is a tongue sticking out and that the "handle" of the shovel-shaped breast is a poorly executed nose, in a kind of cubist contortion; either that, or you have to concede that there is only a nose (or tongue?) on the maskette and the rest of the face is absent. But if you follow the contention of Hall that they are maskettes or tattoos, then the figure is demonstrably not Redhorn's son, since he had real heads on his breasts, not mere images of heads. Then forgetting about the commitment to Hall, you have to say that there are no human heads on his earlobes because they have been painted over "for whatever reason." You have to suppose that the lacrosse game is being conducted in the absence of a ball, goals, sticks, and the other friends that the literature says were with him (Wolf and Otter). You have to persuade yourself that the inverted bird in front of Ghost might somehow be a bear so that it will resonate with the Ioway version of the story. Then you have to act like the bird right in front of Ghost does not even exist.
Your interpretation has no explanatory power. Why is one bird dark and upside down? Why is the other seemingly under attack? Why is a large Thunderbird positioned behind it? Why is the Thunderbird portrayed with a white head and legs? What is the painted bar across RH's face? Why does he look like a woman? What is "he" carrying in "his" left hand? Why is "his" wrist band on "his" right hand? Who is the smoker, and why is he part of the overall scheme? & cet., & cet. And the answer is — simple! — they're all figures whose nature and actions are found in the stories about the Twins.
"it is not the answers that are important; it is the questions that are being asked" — This is not my philosophy. Why dig up the past unless you are trying to understand it? The purpose of debate and discussion is to get at the truth.
The Fatal Flaws of the Received Interpretation
Is the painting at Gottschall, or any part of it, in the Braden A style? Not only is the content of the painting misunderstood, but so too is the style in which it is composed.
We can tabulate the bulk of the criteria that Phillips and Brown have set out as distinguishing the style of Braden A.9 It should be noted that these criteria are mainly designed to distinguish it from related styles, particularly the Craig styles. Consequently, many of its divergences from the style of Gottschall will not even appear on their list. In the following table, I have collected the criteria adduced by Phillips and Brown that is characteristic (under their stated reservations in using this term) for the Braden A style:
|Diagnostic Feature of Braden A (Phillips & Brown)||Present (+) or Absent (-) at Gottschall||Comments|
|Designs appear to have been forced upon the cup; they don't fit, and frequently run off the edges.||
|The composition at Gottschall does run over its lower edge, cutting off legs at places, but the design does not appear to have been forced on its "canvass."|
|Relatively "naturalistic" presentation of human subject matter. Figures are close to natural human proportions. Neck and torso are smoothly articulated, i.e., the shoulder line is not drawn straight across the body separating it from the neck ...||
|This is true also of G.|
|Figures are provided with pelvises, in contrast to those of Craig ...||
|This criterion exists only to separate Braden A from the Craig style.|
|Body parts are well realized, especially mouths, hands, and feet.||
|Despite the small size of the artistic medium of shells, the figures in Braden A are far more exactly realized than at G. The hands at G. often look more like plains pictographs (see above) despite the large space available for a more perfect execution.|
|Dress, footwear, jewelry, weapons, and regalia are little subject to stylization.||
|However in Braden A they are well realized and clearly depicted, whereas at G. their very identity is made obscure by defects in representation|
|In human figural subjects, [there is] a preference for compositions involving multiple components, whether whole figures or only heads.||
|The smoking figure at G. in panel 4 may be an exception unless we link it to panel 5.|
|Individual human figures or heads [are] differentiated by means of variation in dress, adornments (especially of hair and headdress), body and facial decoration, etc. ...||
|This is also mainly in contrast to the Craig style.|
|Human figures relatively small in scale (gorget scale) crowded into available space offered by the cup, with extreme contortions, in a completely unstructured manner. No observable relationships to each other.||
|Here we come to an important feature of Braden A that is completely at variance with the composition at G.|
|"Tiptoe" position of feet (3). The front line of the leg continues down across the instep with only a slight change of direction while the heel, in compensation, is sharply flexed. Not all Braden A feet are drawn this way, but it occurs often enough to be counted as a characteristic feature.||
|Completely opposed to G.|
|High crested headdresses. Worn on heads presented in profile as though intended to represent a capital form like the roach (17).||
|Completely absent from G.|
|"Long-nosed god" maskette worn as ear ornament (17). Also exclusive.||
|Not present at G. In fact, the ears themselves are not even depicted.|
|Single strand bead necklace without the usual shell or columella pendant (5). Occurs only.||
|No necklaces are depicted in the painting at G.|
|Twisted "rope" necklace (4C). Rare but exclusive to Braden A.||
|Multistrand necklace with twist at bottom (6).||
|Necklace superimposed on a triangular "dickey."||
|Figure -9 ear (13B).||
|Ears are not depicted at G.|
|Back hair bun with bifid terminal element (6).||
|The "RH" figure appears to have a hair bun, but as far as can be told, it does not terminate in a bifid element.|
|Long slender beaded forelock (19). Practically standard for Braden A ..."||
|By "long" is meant nearly to the mouth. The braided lines shown at G. are not forelocks and if they were, they would be totally unlike those of the Braden A style.|
|Bilobed arrow hairpin (11). Prominent but not exclusive Braden A feature.||
|Absent at G.|
|Beaded bracelets and anklets with round beads separately delineated (6). Simple but very characteristic Braden A trait. Another treatment in which the beads are mashed together making a more squarish outline, like tessara in a mosaic, also occurs in Braden A ...||
|Wrist ornaments are leather bands with fringe like those shown in XIXᵀᴴ century paintings and in plains pictographs.|
|All over body decoration in "striated" (4) and "Akron" (13A) modes. Both of these features are Braden A exclusives.||
|The RH figure has only a shirt and a wrist band in a striated style. The sculpted head has striation that seems to stop short of its long neck.|
|Forked-eye surrounds superimposed on striated body decoration (6). Confined to Braden A, or very nearly so.||
|The forks under or behind eyes are not surrounds nor are they superimposed on striated body decoration.|
|Bands of Davis rectangles as body decoration (19).||
|No Davis rectangles occur at G.|
|Divided skirt (2). Only other skirts, those in "Craig A," may be similarly divided but are presented differently. The feature, in other words, is the special way the Braden A skirt is presented to view.||
|The skirt shown in the RH figure is not portrayed this way. The Flesh figure has no skirt or kilt, but only leggings.|
|"Akron" grid as allover background treatment with various motifs superimposed: undulating forked eye (14), spudlike figure (15), ogee (16). Minor elements of Akron grid such as crossbars, T-bars, and triangular oar-like line terminations occur in other contexts, but only the last is an exclusive Braden A feature.||
|Something like the undulating forked eye occurs in the Thunderbird at G., but it is not in the surround mode. In the Phillips & Brown plate 14, the forked eyes are detached and arranged irregularly against a striated background. The spudlike figure of plate 15 is similar but not identical to the breast-like figures in "RH." The minor elements are missing altogether at G.|
|Bird feet drawn with same degree of naturalism as human hands (33D).||
|The feet are missing in the large Thunderbird at G. Neither the central nestling nor the inverted bird has feet. This is a strong point of divergence.|
|Sawtooth border (36).||
|Not present at G.|
|Design motifs of ceramic type "Spiro Engraved" (47).||
|Excised circles centered on lines (46). Excised triangles similarly placed are a regular feature of the Davis rectangle motif, listed below.||
|Overreaching crosslines (35).||
|This feature is common in Braden A but definitely absent at G.|
|Theme of multiple figures in motion (1-6), rallying signal of which seems to be the upraised fist.||
|Despite the linear action at G., the figures are quite static and are not in a running pose. The RH figure has a slightly upraised arm, but this is unlike the Braden A paradigm.|
|Multiple figures brandishing weapons (9-10).||
|Weapons seem to be missing at G. except in panel 3.|
|Amphisbaena version of theme of intertwined snakes (24-29). Arrow points and feathered ends of arrows as independent motifs associated with human figures and heads (5, 11).||
|Absent at G.|
|Davis rectangle motif (18).||
|Same combined with rayed concentric barred oval motif (36-45).||
Some points touched upon in the comments section need further elaboration. In perusing the plates in Phillips and Brown's volume on the Braden A style, one cannot help but be struck, not by how similar it is to the painting at Gottschall, but by how utterly different it is. In a Braden A composition, the figures are arranged in an irregular pattern, a kind of swirl, and they have "no observable relationships to each other." In multiple figure compositions, this is universal to this style. Gottschall, on the other hand, is very linear, and under interpretation, the figures bear a clear relationship to one another, with a central action being the unifying theme around which the characters are organized in space. However, in Braden A each figure is drawn skillfully even at the small scale of the gorget. The precision and overall neat appearance of the drawings contrasts markedly with those of Gottschall, which might be characterized in comparison as "sloppy." This is particularly true of details, most noteworthy being the hands, which are very well defined in Braden A, but at Gottschall they are done exactly as they are in plains pictography, if they are done at all. This extraordinary similarity in the treatment of hands can be seen in the inset, where ""RH's"" arm is set alongside the pictogram for "Cheyenne."10 The painting of the dress of RH is not clear and crisp as to its pattern as it should be if it were Braden A, nor is the design of the supposed bag. The design motif of the apron of Ghost is not done in a pattern found in the Braden A material. And although the depiction of human beings is naturalistic in both styles, the Gottschall material diverges strongly from the Braden A in the depiction of animals. The Gottschall paintings of animals are also naturalistic and rather crude, making it hard sometimes to be certain what exactly they are. In Braden A animals are depicted in a highly stylized way, and in a way that is very precise and clearly defined. The fork under the eye of the Thunderbird bears some resemblance to "undulating forked eye" found as a decorative motif in Braden A, but the two show significant divergences as well. The fork of the Gottschall Thunderbird is not so much undulating as it is just sloppy, and the undulating forked eye of Braden A is a surround fork and not just a fork attached to an eye. The spade shaped breasts which Hall wants so badly to identify with LNG maskettes have a fairly close analogue in what Phillips & Brown call "spudlike figures." These latter are more curved, but are also characterized by having dots in the middle of the arrow shaped portion of the design. This alone is no more sufficient in establishing a style than, say, swastikas would be. What seems more likely is that they are being used at Gottschall to depict breasts in a stylized way.
As to the figures that are not much more than drawings made with paint, they have a look not too far removed from plains pictography. However, those figures that are painted in seem to be done in more than one style. The bag and dress of "RH" is complex and unlike either pictography or Braden A. The nestling being attacked by Ghost is done in the highly unusual "filamentous" style of the buffalo in panel 3, a style that is unlike anything else on its own panel. The result is eclectic, and certainly not at all like Braden A, which it must be said is a highly consistent style. It may be that more than one artist participated in the composition, which might help a little to explain the wildly divergent styles exemplified. It may also be that the nestling was deliberately done in the same style as the buffalo of panel 3 because there is some connection between the two as to their nature or status. Both, for instance, are being attacked and perhaps killed. There may be something in the style of depiction that is intended to capture this state of affairs.
The reason why there is such a strange insistence on calling the double helices "forelocks," even though they are in one case almost as long as the person is tall, and do not emanate from the hair (or even, indeed, the head), is because they cannot be fit into the Braden A style otherwise. Forelocks are an essential trait of Braden A, so if there are no forelocks, then the style is not characteristic of Braden A.
The real center of the composition — why has it been ignored? The most striking impact that forcing the stylistic and mythological interpretations has had upon perception can be seen in the true center of action in the composition. This is the nestling that is being killed by Ghost. Two things are obvious about the painting here: it is of a bird, and it is done in the style of the Buffalo of panel 3, that is, in what might be termed a "filamentous" style. Salzer goes into great detail in describing all the other figures in the composition, but when it comes to this central figure, what does he say? The figure's only interest lies its relationship to Ghost's hand: "[Ghost's] right arm has no hand and the left arm extends into a complex area that appears to have been overpainted so it is not possible to determine if a hand is present."11 A "complex area"? Why is nothing said about this bird? The reason is pretty obvious: it goes against both the mythological interpretation and the stylistic interpretation. In the lacrosse game in which Redhorn figures, there is no role for a bird being struck by the Giantess, as she is paired up with Redhorn. The only "bird" who is a participant in the game on Redhorn's side is Storms as He Walks, and he is in human form in the story. The bird being struck is quite small compared at least to the Thunderbird. So its presence in the painted version of the story is anomalous to say the least. The style in which he is painted is the same as the buffalo on panel 3. This style is nothing even remotely like Braden A, nor is it even like plains Indian pictography. Since it is so alien to both the mythological interpretation and the stylistic interpretation at the same time, it has been made to simply disappear. It is a mysterious "complex area."
Links: Gottschall: A New Interpretation, The Gottschall Head, The Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave. An American Star Map.
1 Robert J. Salzer and Grace Rajnovich, The Gottschall Rockshelter: An Archaeological Mystery (St. Paul: Prairie Smoke Press, 2001) 3.
2 Salzer and Rajnovich, The Gottschall Rockshelter, 32.
3 Jeffrey P. Brain and Philip Phillips, Shell Gorgets: Styles of the Late Prehistoric and Protohistoric Southeast (Cambridge: Peabody Museum Press, 1996) 45, artefact Ga-Brt-E8. The subject matter occurs in a ritual context. "We are especially intrigued by the cruciform structure formed by the crossing of the elongated forelock and the equally exaggerated meandering tongue. The originality of the conception and the skill evinced in carrying it out are equally commendable."
4 Philip Phillips and James A. Brown, with the collaboration of Eliza McFadden, Barbara C. Page, and Jeffrey P. Brain, Pre-Columbian Shell Engravings from the Craig Mound at Spiro, Oklahoma, 6 vv. (Cambridge, Mass.: Peabody Museum Press, c1975-1982) plate I:17.
5 David Finster, The Hardin Winter Count, Museum News, 29, ##3-4 (March-April, 1968): 1-59 .
6 Col. Garrick Mallery, Pictographs of the North American Indians. Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 4 (1886): 136, 138 (Crow woman); cf. the figures on 141.
7 Robert L. Hall, An Archaeology of the Soul: North American Indian Belief and Ritual (Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1997) 150.
8 Salzer and Rajnovich, The Gottschall Rockshelter, 2.
9 Phillips & Brown, Pre-Columbian Shell Engravings, I:ix-xi.
10 William Tomkins, Universal Indian Sign Language of the Plains Indians of North America, 5th ed. (San Diego, published by the author, ca. 1931) s.v. "Cheyenne." Cf. Red Horse Owner's Winter Count: The Oglala Sioux, 1786-1968, ed. Joseph S. Karol (Martin, South Dakota: the Booth Publishing Co., 1969) where on p. 26 (for the year 1808), is shown a woman with a child depicted in her womb with a text on p. 59 that reads, "1808 Many pregnant women died (cold)."
11 Salzer and Rajnovich, The Gottschall Rockshelter, 23.