Object Record

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Collection Archaeology General Collection
Catalog Number 1940.1.1
Object Name Statue
Description Native American carved sandstone male ancestor figure with black and red pigment, Mississippian (c. 1250-1350 CE), one of a pair of statues (one male and one female) found in the 1930s at the Sellars farm in Wilson County, Tennessee. The male figure was sold to the University of Tennessee in 1940 by the tenant farmer and quickly became an icon of prehistoric art; it was featured in Time magazine in 1941. In 1992, it traveled to Brussels, Belgium, for the exhibition Trésors du Nouveau Monde at the Museés Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire; in 2004, the statue appeared on a United States postage stamp as part of the ten-stamp Art of the American Indian series. In 2015, it was designated the official Tennessee State Artifact by the Tennessee Legislature.

Title Male Ancestor Figure
Date 1250-1350 CE
Material sandstone
Technique carved
Dimensions H-18 W-13 L-10 inches
Credit line Purchase, The University of Tennessee
Place of Origin US/TN/Lebanon
Subjects Native American
Ancestors
Sculpture
Hairstyles
Body painting
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