6 July 2002
Reinaldo Morales, Jr.
dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the
Virginia Commonwealth University, May 2002.
Major Advisor: James D. Farmer, Associate Professor, Art History.
dissertation addresses the Nordeste Tradition of rock art
from southeast Piauí, Brazil, as part of a sacred
aesthetic still reflected in the living arts of the
Brazilian Indians. Two major points are presented in this
dissertation. First, a previously unrecognized style of
rock painting, the Angelim Style, is identified. Second,
a deeper understanding of the Nordeste Tradition is
proposed through a detailed study of the historic arts of
the Brazilian Indians. This provides a historic
significance for the rock art and contextualizes the
historically known arts as part of a long-lived tradition
of visual expression. The rock art of the Serra Branca
and Angelim Styles, and the Salitre Subtradition is
characterized by elaborate, elongated anthropomorphs that
bear a significant resemblance to several living mask
types used by Northeast and Central Brazilian Indian
groups. The historically documented ceremonies associated
with seasonal resource procurement, death, and ancestors,
most likely have a functional and conceptual basis in the
same ceremonial structures that gave rise to the rock
Excerpt from Chapter 3
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