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    Author(s): Joanna Ostapkowicz; Fiona Brock; Alex C. Wiedenhoeft; Rick Schulting; Donatella Saviola
    Date: 2017
    Source: Antiquity. 91(359): 1314-1329.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Forest Products Laboratory
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.0 MB)


    The Pigorini cemí is an icon of Caribbean colonial history, reflecting early trans-Atlantic crosscultural exchanges. Although well documented, the piece has received surprisingly little systematic study. We present the first structural analysis and radiocarbon dating of the sculpture (modelled at AD 1492–1524), and a brief discussion of the materials from which it is comprised. These include indigenous shell and European glass beads, newly identified feather and hair fibres, and the enigmatic rhinoceros-horn mask carved as a human face. We also address the sculpture’s hidden internal wooden base, which is shown to be a non-indigenous display mount made of European willow (Salix sp.).

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    Ostapkowicz, Joanna; Brock, Fiona; Wiedenhoeft, Alex C.; Schulting, Rick; Saviola, Donatella. 2017. Integrating the old world into the new: an ‘idol from the West Indies’. Antiquity. 91(359): 1314-1329.


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    Caribbean, Taino, Pigorini, colonial, contact

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