Vessel in the form of the Underwater Panther, ca. AD 1400-1600
National Museum of the American Indian, Washington
This afternoon I went to a presentation on the effigy mounds that can be found in great number in and near Madison. The mounds are the remnants of a prehistoric American civilization that is thought to have been centered in the Four Lakes region of south-central Wisconsin. This vessel is representative of the Mississippian culture that supplanted the mound builders, but the underwater panther spirit was also part of the belief system of the mound builders, and can be seen in effigy mound form at several sites across Wisconsin, including several here in Madison.