"1541: The Panthergod Intervenes" is a dimensionallism piece made of 1903 & 1915 ledger paper, watercolors, acrylics, 24k gold leaf, copper repousse, laser cut wood, resin, trade cloth, LED remote lighting & mound base.
18"w x 22"h x 4"d and weighs 48 pounds.
The Chickasaw legend goes like this:
In fall of 1540 Hernando DeSoto brought 250 men, 200 horses, and 300 pigs to the Chickasaw lands. The news preceding his arrival told how badly he treated other tribes. “He comes for yellow metal he calls gold. When none is found, he asks for slaves to carry his baggage, none will ever return.”
After he crossed the boundary river to our country, Micalusa and the peace Mincos of the high corn crib clan greeted him, they gave him thatched huts to sleep warm and maze to feed his people and animals for four months. It was no small gift. The corn crib clan was renowned as great merchant traders. The white men returned no gifts. The clan sent three men for some payment, “Bring back hogs for all to eat.”
Three men could not take much meat. When the Spaniards caught them “stealing” pigs, two men were killed on the spot. The third with his hands cut off, was sent bleeding to his Minco, Micalusa. Following behind, DeSoto demanded 200 strong man to carry his shipment and women for concubine. They would be leaving the next day. The Minco’s remembered what they heard. Looking at the earth, they told DeSoto, “Yes, in the morning, we will send them to you.”
That night, DeSoto put his men to packing. The weather had changed abruptly, now extremely cold. Horses and pigs were herded near the huts to save precious time the next day. Three young guard on old horses begrudge their rounds, not wanting any problems that night. The wind whistled about the thatch huts.
That same night, the Minco’s had called a council. Each war clan sent their prophets and hopyi. After first praying to creator for victory in battle, the holy men sought visions to guide the Minco’s tomorrow. They called for the creator to send cold winds. It was done, a good sign. Each Minco brought a battle plan. Each would have time to talk. It was Tuska who spoke first, “ we will strike at night, from four directions, with fire like the lightning.”
Eho Koi Isto (Panther Woman), was holding her shell gorget as Tuska spoke to the people. She was standing alone looking into the cold north wind. She has distanced herself from others, who danced around a raging fire. Even standing this far from the fire, she felt the fury of the chilled wind. Panther woman was dressed in warm fur of the panther, her clan. She unclasped the thongs of fur to bare her skin to the cold. Hanging about her neck was the shell gorget. Before her mind’s eye, there was a symbol cut into the shell. It was the ancient symbol of the four winds. She knew its power would be important days to come. After saying a few words to the creator the source of the north wind, she turned about the fire. Still feeling the cold, she pulled the fur about her body and face. The dancing like shown on her face. Her eyes seem to be ignited by the firelight, their glow broken by the shadows of dancers circling the flames. Tonight, they would dance before the fire, then attack before dawn. As was the custom, pantherwoman would be in battle with Tuska, her husband, the clan Minco of the panthers.
Each Minco I knew the power of the four wins. All agreed, “So be it!” There was no sleep for the panther people. It was their custom to sleep in the day in Rome at night. The Panther Minco What is allowed to begin the battle. His warriors specialized night combat.
Everyone dance before the raging fire is the cold wind chill the sleeping Spaniards.
The Spaniards were startled awake by sounds of a raging panther. Even though the cold wind rustling through the thatch huts, The roar shoulder hurts every soldier. All coward in the darkness and fear. It was a long silence. Which brought images of monsters in their minds. A conch shell trumpet blew. Strange sounds followed; whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. Flaming arrows had struck the thatched hut’s. Fire spread quickly behind the Highwinds. A drum began to beat, followed by war whoops. Without their armor, the confuse soldiers ran from the burning hearts to escape their lives. Flames lit the area like daylight. Choked by smoke, they stopped. Whoosh! Arrow ripped into soft flesh that knew no armor.
It was panthers who had run in the darkness before blowing north wind to penetrate the village. The Chickasaw warriors were unconquerable in battle. Their success depended on fear to confuse the enemy, followed by men welding warclubs.
In the midst of the battle was panther woman. She knew the land into rain. Her rule was not to fight, but to think, plan, and direct the men in battle.