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Gender, Anatomical Knowledge, and Pottery Production: Implications of an Anatomically Unusual Birth Depicted on Mimbres Pottery from Southwestern New Mexico

Michelle Hegmon and Wenda R. Trevathan
American Antiquity
Vol. 61, No. 4 (Oct., 1996), pp. 747-754
DOI: 10.2307/282015
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/282015
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Gender, Anatomical Knowledge, and Pottery Production: Implications of an Anatomically Unusual Birth Depicted on Mimbres Pottery from Southwestern New Mexico
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Abstract

The anatomical details of a birth scene depicted on Classic Mimbres (A.D. 1000-1150) bowls from southwestern New Mexico can provide clues to gender relations in Classic Mimbres society. The scenes show an infant emerging facing forward (unusual in human birth) with its arms up (virtually unknown in human birth). These details suggest that the scene was painted by someone unfamiliar with the birthing process. Ethnographically, men rarely see human births. Thus, it is likely that the birth scene, and perhaps other Mimbres pottery designs, were painted by men.

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