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Bird Effigy Rattle Bowl

Engraved/appliqued bowl, grog-tempered pottery
Caddo (historic) AD 1300-1500
Upper Tisdale site (3HS98)
Hodges 77-1/21-72

This pottery bowl was made from clay tempered with “grog” (crushed pottery sherds). The bowl has five distinct lines engraved around its edge. The potter modeled a head and tail and applied them as handles. There are small pebbles or hardened pieces of clay inside the hollow head that rattle when the bowl is shaken. The varied colors on the bowl’s surface – from tan to red to black – come from the firing of the vessel.

Caddo bird effigy bowl with rattles in the hollow head.

Based on its style and manufacture, the bowl is estimated to date to AD 1300-1500. It was created by the Caddo people who lived in Hot Spring County at that time.

The bowl was probably used for serving food, and may have been part of a ceremony. The head and tail represent abstracted features of a bird or a deer. Birds, fish, turtles, and deer can be seen on several other effigy pots in the Hodges Collection. Historically, the Caddo would use animals and other natural phenomena in their artistic expression, making their pottery and other material goods reflect the world around them.

Learn more about how the Caddo made pottery from this Texas Historical Commission web page.

Hear another rattle bowl in the Hodges Collection in this video.

3D model created by Teka McGlothlin and Sarah Shepard, text by Andrew Powell and Mary Beth Trubitt, photographs by DeLainey Brown and Mary Beth Trubitt.

This project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding comes from the Arkansas Archeological Society Bill Jordan Public Education Fund.

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Project coordinator Mary Beth Trubitt, web design by Deborah Weddle, humanities scholars Tamara Francis and Judith Stewart-Abernathy. The artifacts on this website are part of the Joint Educational Consortium’s Hodges Collection of Native American Artifacts, curated at Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
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