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Lightning Symbol & Snake Dance: Aby Warburg & Pueblo Art

In 1895-96, Aby Warburg, philosopher/anthropologist in Berlin, visited the Pueblo Indians of northern New Mexico and documented, for the first time, the extraordinary culture of symbols, traditions, celebrations and dance. Using the new cameras, and with the obsession of a collector, he recorded the phenomenal detail of the Pueblo civilization.  It is all a mad, often tortured and torturous tale, involving a Mennonite Ukrainian missionary named Henry Voth, who had a house two miles from the Hopi Reservation - if you wanted to learn about and see an authentic Snake Dance and visit the Pueblo culture, you started at Voth’s. Warburg stayed for near a year and then returns to Berlin, with a vast collection of photos and notes and art pieces. WArburg described America, then, as a “country that made technological culture into an admirable, concise weapon.”  The Pueblo were “ an enclave of pagan humanity that was able to maintain itself and engage in hunting and agriculture with an unshakable adherence to magical practices.” “ A religious devotion to natural phenomena, to animals and plants, to which the Hopi attribute active souls, which they believe they can influence through their masked dances.“ Warburg brought the record of such fantastic magic, the artifacts of this entirely pagan life, to the decidedly European culture. At the museum, he created a famous piece of writing, The Lecture on the Serpent Ritual. Much of it is a crazed tale, much of it is colonial cruelty and much is under review. But that is the controversy- what is not argued is the brilliance portrayed, the Lightning Symbol and the Snake Dance.
Price: $75.00
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