serve to further embellish these core motifs, such as the crosshatch, zigzag, straight lines, and curves (Figure 34). All of these markings seem to be a direct reflection of the Mississippian period's love for body decoration, a fact that has been recorded among other southeastern groups. The designs either originated from or developed simultaneously with the art of body painting or tattooing. The snake in Catawba art and culture is included here because it was integral to body art and, as such, its meaning can be interpreted with some degree of accuracy.
We know the Indians of the region decorated their bodies with designs similar to those employed by the Catawba potters today. The designs also show strong Mississippian traits. The problem is we can only document the use of such motifs from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There seems to be a gap in motif use between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Whether this absence of information can be filled by archaeologists working in the field remains to be seen. While art historians wait for such information to come in, from all appearances the designs seem to be ancient and are very much a part of an aesthetic now almost entirely lost to the Catawba.
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