Title:PipeArtist:Unknown Date:c. 1200Creation Place:North America, United States, Mississippi Valley region, OklahomaCredit Line:The Putnam Dana McMillan FundAccession Number:2004.118
Chiefly warfare spread among the societies across the middle of North America beginning around 1000 CE. The rulers struggled for power and prestige, battling against neighboring chiefdoms for supremacy. Conflict permeated all aspects of life and as a result was reflected in the art produced at that time. This pipe represents a prisoner taken in war, and its large size indicates that it had ceremonial use as a shared smoking device. It depicts a defeated warrior deprived of all marks of rank and privilege except for his beaded forelock of hair, bound helplessly into a humiliating position. Objects such as this pipe were used ritually to ensure victory against one's enemies.