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Warburg, Aby "Images Fron the Region of the Pueblo Indians of North America"

Warburg, Aby "Images Fron the Region of the Pueblo Indians of North America"

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Published by: sugerius on Feb 13, 2012
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05/28/2013

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ImagesfromtheRegionofthePuebloIndiansofNorthAmerica
EsisteinaltesBuchzublattern,Athen-Oraibi,allesYettem.
It
isalessonfromanoldbook:thekinshipofAthensandOraibi,
If
Iamtoshow
you
images,mostofwhichIphoto-graphedmyself,fromajourneyundertakensometwenty-sevenyearsinthepast,andtoaccompanythemwithwords,thenitbehoovesmetoprefacemyattemptwithanexplanation.ThefewweeksIhavehadatmydisposalhavenotgivenmethechancetoreviveandtoworkthroughmyoidmemoriesinsuchawaythatImightofferyouasolidintroductionintothepsychiclifeoftheIndi-ans.Moreover,evenatthetime,Iwasunabletogivedepthtomyimpressions,as'IhadnotmasteredtheIn-dianlanguage.Andhereinfactisthereasonwhyitissodifficulttoworkonthesepueblos:Nearbyastheylivetoeachother,thePuebloIndiansspeaksomanyandsuchvariedlanguagesthatevenAmericanscholarshavethe
 
2
greatestdifficultypenetratingevenoneofthem.Inaddi-tion,ajourneylimitedtoseveralweekscouldnotimparttrulyprofoundimpressions.
If
theseimpressionsarenowmoreblurr~dthantheywere,Icanonlyassureyouthat,insharingmydistantmemories,aidedbytheimmediacyofthephotographs,whatIhavetosaywillofferanim-pressionbothofaworldwhosecultureisdyingoutandofaproblemofdecisiveimportanceinthegeneralwrit-ingofculturalhistory:Inwhatwayscanweperceivees-sentialcharactertraitsofprimitivepaganhumanity?ThePuebloIndiansderivetheirnamefromtheirsed-entarylivesinvillages(Spanish:
pueblos)
asopposedtothenomadiclivesofthetribeswhountilseveraldecadesagowarredandhuntedinthesameareasofNewMexicoandArizonawherethePueblosnowlive.Whatinterestedmeasaculturalhistorianwasthatinthemidstofacountrythathadmadetechnologicalcul-tureintoanadmirableprecisionweaponinthehandsofintellectualman,anenclaveofprimitivepaganhumanitywasabletomaintainitselfand-anentirelysoberstruggleforexistencenotwithstanding-toengageinhuntingandagriculturewithanunshakableadherencetomagicalpracticesthatweareaccustomedtocondemningasameresymptomofacompletelybackwardhumanity.Here,however,whatwewouldcallsuperstitiongoeshandinhandwithlivelihood.
It
consistsofareligiousdevotiontonaturalphenomena,toanimalsandplants,towhichtheIndiansattributeactivesouls,whichtheybe-lievetheycaninfluenceprimarilythroughtheirmaskeddances.Tous,thissynchronyoffantasticmagicandso-berpurposivenessappearsasasymptomofacleavage;fortheIndianthisisnotschizoidbut,rather,aliberatingexperienceoftheboundlesscommunicabilitybetween-manandenvironment.Atthesametime,oneaspectofthePuebloIndians':religiouspsychologyrequiresthatouranalysisproceedwiththegreatestcaution.Thematerialiscontaminated:
ABYM.
WARBURG
3
Fig.
1.
Serpentaslightning.Reproductionofanaltarfloor,kivaornamentation,
ithasbeenlayeredovertwice.Fromtheendofthesix-teenthcentury,theNativeAmericanfoundationwasoverlaidbyastratumofSpanishCatholicChurcheduca-tion,whichsufferedaviolentsetbackattheendoftheseventeenthcentury,toreturnthereafterbutneveroffi-ciallytoreinstateitselfintheMokivillages.Andthencamethethirdstratum:NorthAmericaneducation.YetcloserstudyofPueblopaganreligiousformationandpracticerevealsanobjectivegeographicconstant,andthatisthescarcityofwater.Forsolongastherail-waysremainedunabletoreachthesettlements,droughtanddesireforwaterledtothesamemagicalpracticesto-wardthebindingofhostilenaturalforcesastheydidinprimitive,pretechnologicalculturesallovertheworld.Droughtteachesmagicandprayer.
IMAGESFROMTHEREGIONOFTHEPUEBLOINDIANS
 
4
Thespecificissueofreligioussymbolismisrevealedintheornamentationofpottery,AdrawingIobtainedpersonallyfromanIndianwillshowhowapparentlypurelydecorativeornamentsmustinfactbeinterpretedsymbolicallyandcosmologicallyandhowalongsideonebasicelementincosmologicimagery-theuniversecon-ceivedintheformofahouse-anirrationalanimalfigureappearsasamysteriousandfearsomedemon:theser-pent.Butthemostdrasticformoftheanimistic(i.e.,na-ture-inspiring)Indiancultisthemaskeddance,whichIshallshowfirstintheformofapureanimaldance,sec-ondintheformofatree-worshippingdance,andfinallyasadancewithliveserpents.Aglanceatsimilarphenom-enainpaganEuropewillbringus,finally,tothefollow-ingquestion:Towhatextentdoesthispaganworldview,as
it
persistsamongtheIndians;giveusayardstickforthedevelopmentfromprimitivepaganism,throughthepaganismofclassicalantiquity,tomodernman?
AUinallitisapieceofearthonlybarelyequippedby
ria-
ture,whichtheprehistoricandhistoricinhabitantsoftheregionhavechosentocalltheirhome.Apartfromthenar-row,furrowingvalleyinthenortheast,throughwhichtheRioGrandedelNorteflowstotheGulfofMexico,thelandscapehereconsistsessentiallyofplateaus:extensive,horizontallysituatedmassesoflimestoneandtertiaryrock,whichsoonformhigherplateauswithsteepedgesandsmoothsurfaces.(Theterm
mesa
comparesthemwithtables.)Theseareoftenpiercedbyflowingwaters,...byravinesandcanyonssometimesathousandfeetdeepandmore,withwaJlsthatfromtheirhighestpointsplummetalmostvertically,as
if
theyhadbeenslicedwithasaw....Forthegreaterpartoftheyeartheplateaulandscapere-mainsentirelywithoutprecipitationandthevastmajorityofthecanyonsarecompletelydriedup;onlyatthetimethatsnowmeltsandduringthebriefrainyperiodsdopow-erfulwatermassesroarthroughthebald
ravines.I
ABYM.WARBURG
InthisregionoftheColoradoplateauoftheRockyMountains,wherethestatesofColorado,Utah,NewMexico,andArizonameet,theruinedsitesofprehistoriccommunitiessurvivealongsidethecurrentlyinhabitedIndianvillages.Inthenorthwesternpartoftheplateau,
in
thestateofColorado,arethenowabandoned
cliff-
dwellings:housesbuiltintocleftsofrock.Theeasterngroupconsistsofapproximatelyeighteenvillages,allrelativelyaccessiblefromSantaFeandAlbuquerque.TheespeciallyimportantvillagesoftheZuniliemoretothesouthwestandcanbereachedinaday'sjourneyfromFortWingate.Thehardesttoreach-andthereforethemostundisturbedinthepreservationofancientways-arethevillagesoftheMoki(Hopi),sixinall,risingoutofthreeparallelridgesofrock.Inthemidst,intheplains,liestheMexicansettlementofSantaFe,nowthecapitalofNewMexico,havingcomeunderthedominionoftheUnitedStatesafterahardstruggle,whichlastedintothelastcentury.fromhere,andfromtheneighboringtownofAlbuquerque,onecanreachthemajorityoftheeasternPueblovillageswithoutgreatdifficulty.NearAlbuquerqueisthevillageofLaguna,which,thoughitdoesnotliequitesohighastheothers,pro-videsaverygoodexampleofaPueblosettlement.TheactualvillageliesonthefarsideoftheAtchison-To-peka-SantaFerailwayline.TheEuropeansettlement,belowintheplain,abutsonthestation.Theindigenousvillageconsistsoftwo-storiedhouses.Theentranceisfromthetop:oneclimbsupaladder,asthereisnodooratthebottom.Theoriginalreasonforthistypeofhousewasitssuperiordefensibilityagainstenemyattack.
In
thiswaythePuebloIndiansdevelopedacrossbetweenahouseandafortificationwhichischaracteristicoftheircivilizationandprobablyreminiscentofprehistoricAmericantimes.Itisaterracedstructureofhouseswhosegroundfloorssitonsecondhouseswhichcansit
IMAGESFROMTHEREGIONOFTHEPUEBLOINDfANS
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