effigy

effigy mound

Earthen mound in the form of a bird or animal (e.g, bear, deer, turtle, buffalo), found in the northern central U.S., especially the Ohio River valley. Little is known of the effigy mounds except that most were burial sites. The culture that produced them dates from AD 300 to the mid-17th century. Seealso Hopewell culture.

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Archaeological site, northeastern Iowa, U.S. Located on the Mississippi River, it covers 4 sq mi (10 sq km). Established in 1949, the monument has 183 known mounds, some of which are in the shape of birds and bears. The mounds were built over the course of the Woodland period (1000 BCAD 1200), with the effigy mounds probably constructed between AD 400 and 1200. Many mounds have yielded copper, bone, and stone tools of Indian origin. One of the bear mounds is 137 ft (42 m) long and 3.5 ft (1 m) high.

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An effigy is a representation of a person, especially in the form of sculpture.

The term is usually associated with full-length figures of a deceased person depicted in stone or wood on church monuments. These most often lie supine with hands together in prayer, but may also be recumbent, kneeling in prayer or even standing. Effigies may also be (half) demi-figures and the term is occasionally used to refer to a bust, for example: "the coin bears an effigy of Lincoln".

A different type of effigy is used in some religious rituals to represent an undesired person or spirit. The effigy is burned as a sign of the participants' shared intent to banish the represented element from their lives. The best known British example is the burning of an effigy made of straw and/or old clothing depicting the 17th century Catholic conspirator, Guy Fawkes.

Political effigies serve a broadly similar purpose on political demonstrations or annual community rituals such as that held in Lewes, on the south coast of England. In Lewes, models of important or unpopular figures in current affairs are burned on bonfire night, alongside an effigy of the Pope. The unpopular or political figures are part of tableaux and are not classed as effigies.

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