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The Institutional Organization of Mississippian Religion
Vernon James Knight, Jr.
Vol. 51, No. 4 (Oct., 1986), pp. 675-687
Published by: Society for American Archaeology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/280859
Page Count: 13
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Symbolic objects for ceremonial display, or sacra, tend to be systematically related in their representational content to the cult institutions that produce and manipulate them. Cult organization is normally pluralistic among preliterate complex societies. Mississippian sacra suggest a triad of coexisting types of cult institution: (1) a communal cult type emphasizing earth/fertility and purification ritual, (2) a chiefly cult type serving to sanctify chiefly authority, and (3) a priestly cult type mediating between the other two, supervising mortuary ritual and ancestor veneration.
American Antiquity © 1986 Society for American Archaeology