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The Jaguar Within: Shamanic Trance in Ancient Central and South American Art

The Jaguar Within: Shamanic Trance in Ancient Central and South American Art

The Jaguar Within: Shamanic Trance in Ancient Central and South American Art

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Shamanism--the practice of entering a trance state to experience visions of a reality beyond the ordinary and to gain esoteric knowledge--has been an important part of life for indigenous societies throughout the Americas from prehistoric times until the present. In this pioneering study, Rebecca Stone (faculty/curator at the Carlos Museum) considers how deep familiarity with, and profound respect for, the extraordinary visionary experiences of shamanism profoundly affected the artistic output of indigenous cultures in Central and South America before the European invasions of the sixteenth century. She makes a convincing case that these works, especially those of the Moche, depict shamans in a trance state or else convey the perceptual experience of visions.