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Pipe with Zoomorphic Design
Pipe (specimen #2377-921). The McDowell Site (31MC41). McDowell County, North Carolina. Excavated in 1986 by Dr. David Moore. Unit: 90R350, level: Plowzone. Weight: 75 oz. Material: Soapstone.
Remarks: This soapstone pipe has a zoomorphic figure carved on it. The figure has a body that is slightly serpentine and a more mammalian head, a weeping eye, a mouth with teeth, and a single horn on its head. The figure is surrounded by stylized scales and wings. The figure might represent the mythical Cherokee Uktena: a horned serpent figure with scales and a shining, diamond-shaped crest on its forehead. However, the figure on the pipe has a more mammalian body that might be evocative of the “Water Cougar” or other underworld figures sometimes also associated with the Uktena. Additional information and pictures of the figure can be found in Catawba Valley Mississippian (2002) on pages 206-209.