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The Steven Michaan Collection of North American Tribal Art : The Art of the Spirit World : Woodlands

Medicine Bowls


Medicine rituals led by shamans were performed twice a year in most Woodlands cultures.

In addition to leading these dedicated spring and fall ceremonies, shamans were tribal leaders and healers that cultivated and prepared natural remedies for sick tribal members and guests.

Their medicines were often fully or partially prepared within the vessel as attested by grinding and cutting marks as well as carbonized interiors from heated stones that were used to burn herbs and heat concoctions. The bowls would often have an effigy carved upon them to invoke a spirit to aid in recovery or encourage strength.

These five medicine bowls are exceptional examples for their applicable practice, small size, efficient forms and surface integrities.