webinar register page

Webinar banner
Pre-Columbian Society of New York Lecture Series: Severin Fowles
Capturing Images in Eighteenth-Century New Mexico: Comanche Rock Art as a Theater of War

During the eighteenth century, an extraordinary artistic tradition arose among the Indigenous equestrian societies of the Great Plains. Characterized by iconographic celebrations of the exploits of warriors, the “Plains Biographic Tradition” included elaborately painted tipis and bison hide robes, and it eventually culminated in the famous ledger art of the nineteenth century. The largest and most diverse corpus of imagery, however, was created as petroglyphs on rock faces across the American West. In this presentation, I share the results of a decade-long effort to document a sprawling landscape of Plains Biographic Tradition rock art created by the Ancestral Comanche during their early eighteenth-century forays into the Taos region of New Mexico. Hundreds of incised panels depicting battle scenes, bison hunts, and horse raids have been recorded, revealing evidence of repeated Comanche efforts not just to archive their military prowess but also to artistically appropriate the rock art of their opponents. Collectively, the images invite us to ask: can images, no less than their human makers, be taken captive?

Severin Fowles is an anthropologist whose scholarship combines archaeological methods with perspectives drawn from Critical Indigenous Studies, Art History, Religious Studies, and Material Culture Studies to reimagine the history of the American West.

Mar 7, 2023 06:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Webinar logo
Webinar is over, you cannot register now. If you have any questions, please contact Webinar host: The Institute of Fine Arts Events.