A NEW LOOK AT TIE-DYE AND THE DOT-IN-A-SQUARE MOTIF IH THE PREHISPANIC SOUTHWEST

Laurie D. Webster, Kelley A. Hays-Gilpin, Polly Schaafsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Tie-dyed fabrics patterned with a dot-in-a-square motif appear in the archaeological textile record ofthe U.S.Southwest by the late twelfth or early thirteenth century. Mural images from Arizona and New Mexico suggest that tie-dye was one of the primary means of decorating ritual clothing by Pueblo N. Using evidence from textiles, ceramics, rock art, linguistics, and other media from the U.S. Southwest, Mesoamerica, and Peru, we explore the historical roots of tie-dye in the Americas and the multiple metaphorical meanings of one of its associated motifs, the dotin- a-square. We conclude that the use of the motif on tie-dye cloth, pottery, and other artifacts was part of a widespread dynamic symbolic system relating clouds, rain, maize agriculture, lightning, serpents, and fertility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-348
Number of pages32
JournalKIVA
Volume71
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Archaeology

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