Spirit Lodge: Mississippian Art from Spiro is the first major exhibition dedicated to the art and culture of Mississippian peoples. Although underrepresented in history, they created one of the most exceptional societies in North America, characterized by the construction of large earthen mounds that served as important cultural and ceremonial centers. Spiro in Oklahoma is the only known ancient site in North America where thousands of extraordinary ritual objects from across the Mississippian world were amassed together in a hollow chamber dubbed the Spirit Lodge. Looting in the early 20th century caused irreparable harm to Spiro, and subsequent archaeological investigations were conducted to excavate the remains of the site.
Organized by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in close consultation with the Caddo Nation and Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, this exhibition of nearly 200 ancient and contemporary works explores Mississippian ceremonial centers, the discovery of the Spiro site, and cultural continuity and the active power of Mississippian art.
Spirit Lodge: Mississippian Art from Spiro is organized by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. This exhibition is supported in part by the Henry Luce Foundation, the Kirkpatrick Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Members and donors, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture.
Images: Raptor with human head effigy pipe, Plaquemine, Issaquena County, Mississippi, Esperanza Place, AD 1200–1400, stone, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma, GM 61.1206; Effigy pipe of seated male figure, known as Resting Warrior or Big Boy, and identified as Morning Star or the hero Red Horn, Leflore County, Oklahoma, Spiro site, 1100 – 1200 AD, bauxite (flint clay), Fayetteville, University of Arkansas Museum, 47-2-1. Image courtesy The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Media Services. Photo: John Lamberton; Damion Jay McGirt, Muscogee, Beaded bandolier bag, 1998, North American Southeast, cloth, beads, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 1998.53; Engraved shell medicine cup, Leflore County, Oklahoma, Spiro site, 1200 – 1450 AD, marine shell, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 189121; Human head effigy plate, Leflore County, Oklahoma, Spiro site, 1200 – 1450 AD, copper, Courtesy of the Ohio History Connection, A1393/000001A; Chase Kahwinhut Earles, Caddo, Horse Tripod Vessel (Deé-Tumbah Kah’-Wis), 2015, ceramic, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2018.12; Human face effigy with deer antlers, Leflore County, Oklahoma, Spiro site, 1200 – 1450 AD, wood, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 189306; Starr Hardridge, Muscogee (Creek), COSMIC TWINS, 2016, acrylic and plaster on canvas, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2019.17