Ho’takachee’ wak’kwa

Ho’takachee’ wak’kwa

Storage or Cooking Pot

Fort Ancient vessel from the Hind Mound, Butler County, Ohio, A1778/01
On Loan from Ohio History Connection

Frogs, snakes, and waves adorn many Late Fort Ancient vessels. Scholar now believe that Native peoples associated these animals with the Beneath World, the watery base that supports the Middle World occupied by humanity. Beings of extraordinary power, such as the Great Horned Serpent, adorn their pottery because they successfully travel on both water and land, between the worlds of the multi-layered cosmos. These effigies clearly reflect a common stock of ideas regarding agriculture and fertility, as well as the belief that the natural world and the cosmos intersect. Survival in a multi-layered world in which humans collide with spiritual forces collide required discovering power, or pawaka. Peace depended on knowing who controls power and how one might gain access to it. The symbols found on Fort Ancient pottery helped people understand, locate, and utilize power as they journeyed the Middle World, from birth to death.

Courtesy Dr. Stephen Warren, University of Iowa