Long-nosed god mask earring from the Gahagan Mound site in northwest Louisiana. One of a matched pair found within a mass of artifacts in the corner of an Early Caddo tomb. Made of sheet copper. The pair probably represent ritual ear ornaments as depicted on the "Big Boy" effigy pipe from Spiro shown below. Long-nosed god icons are known from many North American and Mesoamerican cultures. Anthropologist Robert Hall has linked the Mississippian-period long-nosed god with the mythical figure known as Red Horn or He-who-wears-human-heads-as-earrings to the historic Winnebago and Iowa Indians of the upper Midwest. Hall believes the mask earrings were part of adoption rituals in Mississippian society during which important leaders extended fictive kinship bonds to visiting leaders, thus cementing political alliances. Photo courtesy Pictures of Record.
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