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BOWL EFFIGY, HUNCHBACK, CHACO WARE
• BODY ART: MARKS OF IDENTITY. AMNH, NEW YORK, NY. November 1999 - May 2000
Exhibition Label: Vessel in form of a hunchback. Ceramic. Ancestral Pueblo. A.D. 1100-1300. This figure bears markings across the torso and the upper arm that may represent either tattoos or body paint. While body painting and tattooing were widespread among native North American peoples when they were first encountered by Europeans, little is known about these practices in ancient times. This figure comes from Aztec Ruin, an outlying village of the Chaco Canyon complex in northern New Mexico. The people there, ancestral to Pueblo people living today in the southwestern United States, raised corn and other crops and built multiple-dwelling structures. Aztec Ruin also includes 8 kivas, or ceremonial chambers. This figure was found in the courtyard of a kiva, suggesting that it may have been used in religious ceremonies.