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Description - Lightning Symbol and Snake Dance: Aby Warburg and Pueblo Art by Christine Chavez

The legacy of the art and cultural scientist Aby Warburg offers many subjects for reassessment. Almost unknown until now are the artifacts he collected on a journey through the southwest of the US in 1895/96 and donated to the Museum fur Voelkerkunde in Hamburg (today Museum am Rothenbaum). The results first unfolded in Warburg's famous lecture on the "snake ritual" of the Hopi (1923). Following Warburg's transdisciplinary approach, this publication examines his guiding principles in assembling his collection as well as his reading of Pueblo art and culture. It pays tribute to the works and their artistic significance and sheds light on the circumstances of acquisition in the sociopolitical environment of the Pueblo communities of the time. The contemporary fascination with the snake ritual is also a topic. Set against this are the previously neglected perspectives and strategies of Pueblo leaders to regain interpretive sovereignty over culturally sensitive content and imagery.

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