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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Horned Serpents in Mounds and Puebloes

Wehave had announcements about the "Dinosaurian" Water Monster (Horned Serpent) Avanyu (Awanyu) before, but I just came across this stunning petroglyph representing one from the Anasazi culture. The Anasazi were the forerunners to our more familiar Pueblo (Village) Indians. It does seem that the idea is that the monster is a creature much like a Plesiosaur with a long neck and a fat body with four flippers. The tail is apparently prolonged by counting in the wake and the entire appearance is much like Oudemans' reconstruction of the Great Sea-serpent when seen from above.

This depiction of a Horned serpent has a human rider on its back, possibly intending to harpoon it. This is indeed intended to be an Avanyu despite its rather short and stumpy appearance: another version showing a human riding on an Avanyu is below, together with a rendition of it in "Periscope" position.. the one below definitely shows flippers and the one above from Mallory also has variations that seem to show the flippers also, at least the foreflippers.

 Here is an extraction I did while I was looking for "Spinybacked" reference materials, but after I was done the result still looks like a pair of big Loch Ness Monster type humps.

And here I a painting done by a Native artist of the area, depicting the Avanyu as a water monster in its own environment. I am not intending this should defraud the artist, I am merely using it because it is an exceptionally good depiction of the Avanyu as a water monster.


Another more modern depiction of Avanyu, showing the flipperlike limbs.
Similar creatures were depicted by the Mississippian culture, mostly in the Mississippi valley itself. These bowls with snaky heads, necks and tails have caught the attention of collectors that call them "Sea Monsters", which is a label that has been used in some museums.
And as has been mentioned earlier on this blog, some of the earlier Effigy mounds of the Ohio valley area generally also resemble Oudemans' reconstruction for the Great Sea-serpent, only they are more usually called "Panthers" and "Turtles". Sometimes the idea probably was to represent turtles or Water panthers, but in other cases the shape is different enough that the makers could have been trying to represent Plesiosaurian Water Monsters. I would weigh this toward the "Turtles" myself.

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