- Laurence Libin
Term for an anthropo- or zoomorphic ceramic rattle of the pre-Contact Americas. In American archaeology ‘adorno’ (from Sp. adornar, ‘to decorate’) generally refers to a decoration attached to the rim (not the side) of a ceramic vessel. Many adornos have been broken off, perhaps intentionally, and are found separately. A significant number of these attached or detached effigies, typically about 6 cm tall or larger, are hollow and contain well-formed, loose pellets, also made of ceramic and fired together with the effigy and its vessel. In the USA adorno rattles have been found in pre-Mississippian and Mississippian-era sites, most examples dating from about 1200 to 1400 ce. Five examples (preserved by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History), recovered in the late 19th century from the Lake George mound site in the Yazoo-Mississippi River delta, have been studied; their quiet sound has been associated speculatively with the heartbeat of the clan entities represented by the effigies....