The Gottschall Head
by Richard L. Dieterle
One of the more interesting finds at Gottschall has been a sculpted sandstone head with a long neck, about the size of a loaf of bread.1 It is complete with eyes, nose (with nostrils), and an open mouth, the interior of which has been painted orange-red. Its back and sides have been left rough, leaving the figure without ears, as though it were designed to be placed in a niche. The sculpture dates from the same time as the Gottschall paintings.
One of its most noteworthy features is the series of vertical pinstripes that have been painted from the forehead all the way down to the base of the neck. They are in the same blue-gray paint in which the figures of panels 4 and 5 are painted. These may be called "Akron lines" with some justice although perhaps anachronistically. We don't know, after all, how long Akron lines were used before the style became widespread and even preferred among the Mississippians. We do know that it persisted elsewhere almost to contemporary times, as we see from the facial painting of the Fox warrior, Tahcoloquoit. (inset). However, unlike Tahcoloquoit, the sandstone head has what appears to be a symbol painted on its chin, a rough circle with a thick dot in its center. Since the Akron lines appear in the Mississippian culture almost obsessively, Salzer has attempted to understand the circle motif by investigating its occurrence in that slightly later culture. He says, "Phillips and Brown have also identified this motif in Mississippian engravings, where it appears as body decoration on snakes, felines, and, more rarely, the tails of birds."2 However, if we look elsewhere for its context, it moves from being a decorative motif to being a symbolic device.
In the Gottschall paintings we have seen how symbolism has been achieved using conventions of pictography previously known from only very recent times. Their antiquity in this context is perhaps surprising. One of these is relevant to understanding the dotted circle on the chin of the sculpture. We have seen how inversion and coloring in are used as symbols of death.
The solid coloring of the pictograph for the dead organism can be abbreviated. This is achieved by placing a single thick dot in the center of a pictograph to show that its referent is dead. The bear paw, which denotes a bear, comes to mean "a dead bear" when a thick black dot is placed in the center of the paw. To indicate a dead human being, a pictograph of the person is made, and the thick black dot is placed in the center of the image. We do not have to look far to see where the origins of this are to be found. Life is symbolized by a simple circle. This convention may have arisen because life, like the circle, has no end, as it continues in spirit form even after death. The Hočągara, for instance, identify life with light (hąp), so that the absence of light, darkness, serves automatically to express death. Since death and unconsciousness are a kind of nullity, darkness serves as the appropriate counterpart of death. Consequently, the death of something may be indicated by merely shading in its pictograph. Death, being the opposite of the blank circle of life, is shaded in, giving rise to the dark circle as its own pictograph. When this dark circle is reduced in size and placed within the pictograph of a living thing, it then denotes its death. What would it mean, then, to place the dark circle (the thick black dot) within the circle of life? It can't simply mean "death," since the dark circle or dot has that significance on its own. The black dot can be translated as, "x in a state of death," as when the dot is placed within the pictograph denoting "a bear," the result is "a bear in the state of death." Therefore, our pictograph made by a circle with a thick dot in its center, would mean, "life in a state of death." More idiomatically, this is just life after death, as we would say today. This symbol actually exists in plains pictography, denoting something that exemplifies life in a state of death — in other words, a spirit or ghost.3
Just above the "spirit" symbol on the sculpted head is the mouth, whose interior has been painted an orange-red. Could this be understood as a symbol whose referent is found in the same universe of discourse? One could argue, of course, that the orange-red interior to the open mouth is nothing more than an attempt to compensate for the shadow that forms over the slit. On the other hand, in Hočąk culture, the color red has definite symbolic associations. It is the color of youth in contradistinction to blue, the color of old age. This is most particularly seen in dress. Only young people are allowed to dress in red, but for an elder, this color is no longer appropriate. Elders dress in blue (čo) instead.4 This makes red the color of youth and vitality. In essence, the color red expresses life itself. One would expect that part of the reason for this must reside in the fact that blood is red. Another part of the reason for the association of red with life is that the sun often takes on this hue at sunrise and sunset. This is reflected in the sacrificial emblem of the sun, a single, solid red circle (just like the Japanese flag). The sun is the source of hąp, light and day, a word that has the secondary meaning of "life." The Hočąk pictograph of the sun happens to be the same as the plains symbol for life, only red instead of blank. As the reified expression of the essence of life, the sun becomes strongly associated with red rather than yellow, its predominant color. In both The Red Man and The Chief of the Heroka, the color red is associated with the protagonist's life. The sky itself reflects the course of battle as he fights the four brothers of his dead wife. When the red clouds disappear from the sky, the hero is dead, his life extinguished with the extinction of the celestial red.5 Despite the fact that red symbolizes life, at the same time the gatekeeper of the Spirit World, where the departed soul enters into a new abode of life, is Red Bear. This is not because red is associated with death, but because here the soul enters upon a new life. The Medicine Rite teaches that the second hill that the departed spirit reaches is red in color. Some say that red rocks are scattered about there. On the third hill that the spirit reaches, he finds groves of red willows and fields of red reeds. Halfway up this hill can be seen a column of red smoke, or as others say, a red haze covering the valley below. After the fourth hill, the departed spirit climbs a ladder to Earthmaker's paradise. One side of the ladder is formed by a red cedar tree, and the tree forming the other side is twisted into a spiral.6 The extensive use of red symbolism reflects the Medicine Rite member's destiny to regain life. It is the soul, spirit, or ghost that is the essence of life and which has strong associations with the color red. The turkey bladder headdress that kept Ghost from returning to his watery abode was also painted red. Ghost is kept alive, that is, (re)united with Flesh. This is achieved when his father fills the turkey bladder with his breath (Hočąk ni), and ties it so that it cannot be expired. Thus Ghost cannot expire and separate from Flesh. This bladder is tied to his head, for as we shall see below, the head is particularly associated with the soul (ghost). All this is mediated by his father the Sun, whose red orb of hąp is mirrored in the round red bladder that surmounts Ghost's head. That Ghost (and ghosts) should be associated with water is partly grounded in the fact that the word ni, nį, means at once both "breath, to breathe; life"; and "water."7 A secondary sense of ni means "to be born," that is, "to breathe." This stem gives rise to ni'ąp, the standard word meaning "life." So for Ghost and ghosts generally, the nąǧirak or wanąǧi, are breath (ni) as the life principle, yet they themselves, although of this ethereal substance, are images of their flesh, as nąǧirak also means, "shadow, a man's reflection in the water."8 So the ghost is the twin of the flesh, but as its life principle it is as insubstantial as the breath. This brings us to another assonance, nearly a homonym in Hočąk, the word 'į, į, "to be, to become, to live"; and i, "mouth." So the mouth becomes associated with being, becoming, and life itself. An image labeled with a pictograph for "spirit, ghost" might well have the interior of its mouth painted red, as that is where the breath emanates, where the life principle is most physically pronounced in its expression. So the interior of the mouth would be painted the color of life and of soul to serve as an added reminder to the viewer that the image seen is that of a spirit.
A head is a particularly good way to represent a ghost since the spirit is profoundly associated with that part of the anatomy. In olden times the Hočągara used to take the heads of those enemies whom they killed in battle. This act insured that the soul whose head was taken would be in the service of the victor.9 At a funeral, for instance, a veteran could command the soul over whom he had power, to be a guide to the deceased in his journey to Spiritland. When a head is taken, its ghost may follow after the warparty and shove stragglers so that they stumble. This shows that the ghost is more drawn to the head than to any other part of his body.10 The idea that personal identity is strongly identified with the head is well attested elsewhere.11
The placing of the "spirit" symbol on the chin can also be understood in terms of widespread beliefs concerning the nature of the soul. The chin in males is a site where hair will grow profusely unless deliberately suppressed. It is an almost universal belief in traditional cultures that the hair grows there because it is close to what the Greeks called muelos (μυελός), the substance in which the souls dwells and which is responsible for sexual reproduction and general potency. As La Barre observes, "In the voluminous materials of Onians, hair on the head and hair appearing at puberty (on jaw or pubes) are believed to be so located because of their proximity to the main storage place and conduit of the muelos. Like male animal horns, hair is the sign and the locus of virility and strength. Samson's great strength lay in his hair ..."12 In Homer we find the knees and chin grasped in an act of suppliance. Thetis, for instance, knelt before Zeus and "clasped his knees with her left hand and with her right took hold of him by the chin beneath."13 Hera says of Thetis, "She kissed his knees and took his chin in her hand."14 The knees and chin were considered holy since they were endowed with an abundant supply of the stuff of life. This is why Athena in one version of the tale, was born from the chin and beard of Zeus.15 The Greek for jaw and chin respectively, génus (γένυς), géneion (γένειον), can on the one hand be compared with geneiás (γενειάς), "beard," and on the other with gónu (γόνυ), "knee," and generative terms such as génos (γένος), geneá (γενεά) ("race, stock, family"). In Africa among the Baganda the ghost is said to dwell in the lower jawbone. This part of the anatomy of a dead Bagandan king is removed and placed in a shrine. The war god of these people is represented by a jawbone and genital organ preserved together.16 In ancient Egypt, the jawbone was often preserved.17 All these examples are expressions of the theory that the brain is a kind of muelos and the concentration of that substance is responsible for the growth of hair at puberty. LaBarre observes,
It is not so surprising, therefore, to find the old Eurasiatic concept of muelos also prevalent among American Indians. It is recently reported by Anne Straus for the Northern Cheyenne that 'the final locus of the life principle is the marrow-filled bones of the skeleton after the flesh has fallen away'18 — a belief probably representative of all American Indians, North and South."19
The Hurons, for instance, call the bones of the dead Atsiken, "the souls,"20 and the Iroquois generally believe that the animating soul resides in the marrow of the bones.21 Do the Hočągara also have a concept of muelos? We find that the term for marrow in Hočąk is horugóp, a descriptive term meaning, "that which is scraped out." This refers to the fact that the marrow in the center of animal bones has to be scraped out in order to be eaten. That the brain is considered just a form of marrow is shown in the word nąsurugóp, which is derived by internal sandhi from nąsu-horugóp, "head marrow." So given the same premise, that the brain is made of marrow, universal logic will yield the same conclusion: the hair that appears at puberty on the jaw and elsewhere is an outgrowth of the enlargement of the horugóp (muelos) of the maturing body. However, unlike Europe where essentially the same ideas held sway, in the New World, the growth of facial hair was almost always suppressed. The nearly universal practice of suppressing the growth of facial hair, and in many cases even part of the hair of the head, is no doubt connected to the idea that the growth of hair diminishes vitality and vigor by depleting the substance in which the soul lives. In Guatemala, "A woman's long hair is much admired, but the price is high: a woman with long hair is thought always to be thin and wan, and she cannot expect to have vigor and strength. Sources of vitality are insufficient to grow long hair and still leave an individual with energy and a well-fleshed body."22 This would some way to explain why the Hočągara believe that Thunderbirds in anthropomorphic form are bald: it is presupposed by the immense amount of energy that they have stored in their heads which is expressed in avian form when they shoot lightning bolts out of their eyes.
The thesis of the new interpretation is, of course, that the Gottschall painting centers on the conflict between the Twins, Ghost and Flesh, and the Thunderbirds whose nestlings they attacked. Naturally, the first thought is that this sculpture is labeled with a pictograph of the divine being in whose image it was fashioned — Ghost. Is this a sculpture of Ghost himself? There is really no way to discriminate between the sculpture being a ghost or the Ghost. Unfortunately, there is really nothing else about the head that suggests that he is a representation of Ghost. The esoteric meaning behind the struggle of Ghost and Flesh against the Thunders may have been what was celebrated in the rites held at Gottschall, in which case there may have been some obscure role for a three dimensional representation of a spirit. This role did not last forever. The most surprising thing of all, for which no explanation is quite sufficient, is that this sculpture was simply cast away into a rubbish heap. Perhaps this representation, if it is of Ghost, was simply superseded by the painting.
Postscript: Recent Evidence. It was observed sometime ago that the ocular mark on the chin of the Gottschall head bears strong resemblance to marks found on figures depicted at Picture Cave in Missouri.23 In 1997, Salzer had this to say about this ocular mark:
This motif has also been isolated in the engraved marine shell cup art at the Spiro Site, where it occurs in feline, snake, and bird's tail contexts.24 According to Jeremy P. Rockman, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation (personal communication), this motif was painted on the chins of deceased members of the Bear clan.25
This fits well with the idea that the symbol denotes a spirit, either of a deceased person, or a deity. However, the similar ocular symbols in the pictographs at Picture Cave introduce a new element. They occur on two humanoid figures, one who wears an aigrette, and another who has prosopic ear ornaments, recalling Wears Man Faces on His Ears (Redhorn). On the former, the ocular symbol is located on the side of his face, whereas it is located in the center of the latter's chest. As I show in The Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave. An American Star Map, these figures play a role in a star map. The first figure is easily correlated with Wears White Feather, also known as "White Plume," and in whose ocular symbol the star Sirius falls. The other figure is Redhorn in his guise as Herokaga, the chief of the diminuitive hunting spirits, the heroka. As I had argued long before, his star is Alnilam of Orion, and it is this star that does in fact fall within his ocular symbol. So the ocular symbols denote stars; but to say this and nothing more would be simplistic. They do, after all, also act as identity markers. The ocular symbols almost certainly originated as eyes. In the star map, the other figures have stars that fall exactly on their eyes, which are no more than dots. This is even true of the maskette on Redhorn's ear, which coincides with the bright red star Betelgeuse. Stars are frequently represented as, or by, eyes.26 The reason that stars are associated with spirit beings almost certainly lies in the fact that in many cultures deceased humans were thought to become stars.27 Given that the ocular symbol is now attested as denoting a star, we might entertain the idea that the head represents a star. Both Ghost and Flesh are stars (Mercury ?), but nowhere is it stated precisely what stars they are. The pinstripe lines down the face of the head are found on both figures at Picture Cave. The idea that the head might be that of Redhorn is reinforced by its red or orange color, the pinstripes, and the ocular mark on his chin. Against this, however, is the complete lack of his signiture prosopic earpieces. Indeed, he even lacks ears altogether. There is no representation of hair as there is on the Big Boy sculpture, for instance. Perhaps most of all, the pictographs of Panel 5 are not about Redhorn, but the Twins.
Links: Gottschall: A New Interpretation, Gottschall: Debate and Discussion, Ghosts, The Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave. An American Star Map.
Stories: mentioning ghosts: The Journey to Spiritland, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Holy One and His Brother, Worúxega, Little Human Head, Little Fox and the Ghost, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, The Lame Friend, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Hare Steals the Fish, The Difficult Blessing, A Man's Revenge, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Two Roads to Spiritland, Sunset Point, The Message the Fireballs Brought.
Themes: red as a symbolic color: The Journey to Spiritland (hill, willows, reeds, smoke, stones, haze), The Gottschall Head (mouth), The Chief of the Heroka (clouds, side of Forked Man), The Red Man (face, sky, body, hill), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse (neck, nose, painted stone), Redhorn's Father (leggings, stone sphere, hair), The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father (hair, body paint, arrows), Wears White Feather on His Head (man), The Birth of the Twins (turkey bladder headdresses), The Two Boys (elk bladder headdresses), Trickster and the Mothers (sky), Rich Man, Boy, and Horse (sky), The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits (Buffalo Spirit), Bluehorn Rescues His Sister (buffalo head), Wazųka (buffalo head headdress), The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth (horn), The Brown Squirrel (protruding horn), Bear Clan Origin Myth (funerary paint), Hawk Clan Origin Myth (funerary paint), Deer Clan Origin Myth (funerary paint), Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (stick at grave), Pigeon Clan Origins (Thunderbird lightning), Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks (eyes), Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (scalp, woman's hair), The Race for the Chief's Daughter (hair), The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy (hair), Redhorn Contests the Giants (hair), Redhorn's Sons (hair), The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle (hair), A Wife for Knowledge (hair), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (hair), The Hočągara Contest the Giants (hair of Giantess), A Man and His Three Dogs (wolf hair), The Red Feather (plumage), The Man who was Blessed by the Sun (body of Sun), The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2) (body of the Warrior Clan Chief), Red Bear, Eagle Clan Origin Myth (eagle), The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (Waterspirit armpits), The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty (Waterspirits), The Roaster (body paint), The Man who Defied Disease Giver (red spot on forehead), The Wild Rose (rose), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (warclub), Įčorúšika and His Brothers (ax & packing strap), Hare Kills Flint (flint), The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head (edges of flint knives), The Nannyberry Picker (leggings), The Seduction of Redhorn's Son (cloth), Yųgiwi (blanket).
1 Robert J. Salzer and Grace Rajnovich, The Gottschall Rockshelter: An Archaeological Mystery (St. Paul: Prairie Smoke Press, 2001) 41-42.
2 Salzer and Rajnovich, The Gottschall Rockshelter, 41. Philip Phillips and James A. Brown, Pre-Columbian Shell Engravings from the Craig Mound at Spiro, Oklahoma (Cambridge: Peabody Museum Press, Harvard University, 1978) pl. 150.
3 William Tomkins, Universal Indian Sign Language of the Plains Indians of North America, 5th ed. (San Diego, published by the author, ca. 1931) s.v. "Spirit."
4 Oliver LaMère, ... ?
5 Paul Radin, "The Red Man," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #6: 1-72; Paul Radin, "The Chief of the Heroka," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Notebook #33: 1-66.
6 The material on the mention of the color red in the journey to Spiritland comes from Paul Radin, "The Journey of the Ghost to Spiritland: As Told in the Medicine Rite," in The Culture of the Winnebago as Described by Themselves (Baltimore: Special Publications of the Bollingen Foundation, #1, 1949) 60-72; and Paul Radin, The Road of Life and Death: A Ritual Drama of the American Indians. Bollingen Series V (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 ) 171.
7 Mary Carolyn Marino, A Dictionary of Winnebago: An Analysis and Reference Grammar of the Radin Lexical File (Ph.D. Thesis, University of California, Berkeley, December 14, 1968 [69-14,947]) ss.vv. ni, nį.
8 Albert Samuel Gatschet, "Hočank hit’e," in Linguistic and Ethnological Material on the Winnebago, Manuscript 1989-a (Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution National Anthropological Archives, 1889, 1890-1891) s.v. nąǧidak — "1. dead mans spirit, 2. soul, 3. shadow, 4. mans reflection in the water" (q.v.); Marino, s.v. nąǧi ("soul, ghost, spirit"); nąǧirak ("soul, vital principle, the spirit"); Kenneth L. Miner, Winnebago Field Lexicon (Kansas City: University of Kansas, June 1984) s.v. nąǧírak ("ghost, shadow"); Hocąk Teaching Materials, edd. Johannes Helmbrecht and Christian Lehmann, 2 vols. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010) 1:151, s.v. nąąǧírak. This is an old Siouan word: cf. Hidatsa, nokidáḣi, "a human shade, a ghost"; dáḣi, "a dim shadow or shade." Washington Matthews, Ethnography and Philology of the Hidatsa Indians. Department of the Interior, United States Geological and Geographical Survey, Miscellaneous Publications, #7 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1877) 143, s.v. dokidáḣi, 225, s.v. "Ghost"; 143, ss.vv. dok, doḣ; 138, s.v. dáḣi, 158, s.v. idáḣi, 234, s.v. "Shade."
9 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 ) 96.
10 Paul Radin, "The Two Friends Who Became Reincarnated: The Origin of the Four Nights Wake," The Culture of the Winnebago as Described by Themselves (Baltimore: Special Publications of the Bollingen Foundation, #1, 1949) 12-46. Informant: John Rave (Bear Clan). The original text is in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Notebook 43, 1-62. This story is discussed in Claude Lévi-Strauss, "Four Winnebago Myths," Structural Anthropology, vol. 2, trs. Monique Layton (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976) 198-210.
11 Richard Broxton Onians, The Origins of European Thought about the Body, the Mind, the Soul, the World, Time, and Fate (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1951) 96-97.
12 Weston La Barre, Muelos: A Stone Age Superstition about Sexuality (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984) 50.
13 Iliad 1.500.
14 Iliad 8.371.
15 Vatican Mythographer 1.176, 2.37; cf. Onians, The Origins of European Thought, 111, 178f.
16 John Roscoe, The Baganda ( London: Macmillan, 1911) 7, 109, 282. Onians, The Origins of European Thought, 236.
17 Budge, Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, 2:91ff, 96ff, 102; Onians, The Origins of European Thought, 236 nt 2.
18 Alice S. Straus, Northern Cheyenne Ethnopsychology, Ethos, 5 (1977): 325-357 .
19 La Barre, Muelos, 49. For the soul as a resident in the marrow of the bones, see Robert L. Hall, An Archaeology of the Soul: North American Indian Belief and Ritual (Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1997) 30-31.
20 John Napoleon Brinton Hewitt, The Iroquoian Concept of the Soul, Journal of American Folk-Lore, 8, #29 (1894): 107-116. Hall, An Archaeology of the Soul, 30.
21 Father Paul Le Jeune, Jesuit Relations, 1636. Quoted in Hall, An Archaeology of the Soul, 30.
22 George M. Foster, "Peasant Society and the Image of Limited Good," American Anthropologist 67 (1965): 293-315 .
23 Diaz-Granados, ...
24 Phillips and Brown, Pre-Columbian Shell Engravings from the Craig Mound at Spiro, Oklahoma.
25 Robert J. Salzer, "Wisconsin Rock Art," Wisconsin Archeologist, 78 (1997), #1-2: 48-76 .
26 Susan Milbrath, Star Gods of the Maya: Astronomy in Art, Folklore, and Calendars (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999) 251-253. Among the Siouan Mandans, the principal soul is thought to travel through the sky as a shooting star. Alfred W. Bowers, Mandan Social and Ceremonial Organization (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004 ) 97. The Pleiades star cluster is said in Peru to be the eyes of Viracacha, the god of thunder and creation. Anthony Aveni, Stairways to the Stars: Skywatching in Three Great Ancient Cultures (New York: J. Wiley, 1997) 153. For the "star eyes" of the Aztecs, see Eduard Seler, Collected Works in Mesoamerican Linguistics and Archaeology (English Translations of German Papers from Gesammelte Abhandlungen zur Amerikanischen Sprach- und Alterthumskunde), translated by Charles P. Bowditch & Frank E. Comparato; J. Eric S. Thompson and Francis B. Richardson, edd., 2d ed. (Lancaster, California: Labyrinthos, 1996) 2:186a-b, 2:188b, 2:217b, 2:225b, 3:108a, 3:112b, 3:136b-3:137a, 3:217b, 4:111a, 4:133b, 4:226a, 5:5b, 5:45a, 5: 319a-b. The star-denoting eyes were also called "night eyes" by the Aztecs — see Keber, Codex Telleriano-Remensis, 182a. Among the Mixtec, stars (tinoo dzinin) are eyes (tenuu). Jill Leslie Furst, Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus I: A Commentary. Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, State University of New York at Albany, Publication #4 (Albany: the Author, 1978) 13-14. This symbolism is widely distributed over Mesoamerica. Herbert H. Spinden, "A Study of Maya Art: Its Subject Matter and Historical Development," Memoirs of the Pebody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, 6 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1913) 209, Fig. 239; 214. Hermann Beyer, "Symbolic Ciphers in the Eyes of Maya Deities," Anthropos 23 (1928): 32-37; "El ojo en la simbología del México antiguo," El México Antiguo (Mexico City) 10 (1965): 488-493. Franz Termer, "Observaciones etnológicas acerca de los ojos entre los antiguos Mexicanos y los Mayos," El México Antiguo 9 (1961): 245-273 . Jean-Jacques Rivard, "Cascabeles y ojos del dios Maya Ah Puch," Estudios de Cultura Maya (Mexico City), 5 (1965): 75-91. Horst Hartung, "Astronomical Signs in the Codices Bodley and Selden," in Native American Astronomy, ed. Anthony F. Aveni (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1977) 37-41 . Pettazzoni records the following:
As for the stars as eyes of the sky itself, this is a quite wide-spread notion. Among the ancient Mexicans it even found expression in art, in the so-called Codices of their picture-writing, which include some representations of the heavens as dotted with eyes. It still survives among the present-day inhabitants of Mexico, as the Cora and Huichol. Among the Wiyot or Wishosk of central California the stars are called "eyes of the sky." Among the Alacaluf of Tierra del Fuego they are the eyes of Xolas, their Supreme Being. Likewise among the Cashinawa (Western Amazon basin), the stars are the eyes of the sky-Being. Sometimes it is certain particular stars which are his eyes. Thus, among the eastern Pomo in California the stars in general are supposed to be eyes, but the polestar is the eye of Marumda, the Supreme Being. In ancient Peru the seven Pleiades were the eyes of Viracocha. In the central district of the island of Flores the stars are the eyes of Dua Nggae the Supreme Being, who is thought of as being the pair Heaven and Earth. Among the Masai, who are Nilotic Hamites, the stars are the eyes of Ngai, the chief sky-god, and a falling star is one of his eyes which is coming nearer the earth in order to see better.
Raffaele Pettazzoni, "On the Attributes of God," Numen, 2, ##1-2 (Jan.-May, 1950): 1-27 . "Among the Cora of ... Mexico, Tetewan, goddess of he night sky and the lower world, has many "sights," presumably eyes, looking every way, and the same is said of Hatsikan, the Morning Star." Pettazzoni, "On the Attributes of God," 19. A raconteur of a Shoshone story says that after the Cottontail brothers made the Moon out of the Sun's gall bladder, "They made stars out of some other part of the body — maybe the eyes." Annie Bealer, "Cottontail Shoots the Sun," in Anne M. Smith, Shoshone Tales (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1993 ) 100. The Greek Άργός Πἄνόπτης | Argós Panóptēs, "Bright All-Eyes," seems to have represented the night sky, with his hundred eyes being the stars, as when Ovid describes him as stellatus ... Argus, "starry Argos" (Metamorphoses 1.644).
Argos Panoptes had "many" or "a hundred" or "ten thousand" eyes, or, according to the Aigimios, four, presumably distributed between two faces, for we actually find him two-faced on some vases. In one he has in addition eyes all over his body, and that was how Kratinos conceived of his panoptai, that is the followers of a philosophic school of which he was making fun in the comedy with that title.
Pettazzoni, "On the Attributes of God," 18-19.
27 Seler, Collected Works in Mesoamerican Linguistics and Archaeology, 5: 45, 49, 53.