PUEBLO: Mountain, Village, Dance by Vincent Scully
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PUEBLO: Mountain, Village, Dance

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An astonishing, dauntless book: a noted architectural historian's homage to the native people of the American Southwest, their deep feeling of human participation in nature, and their use of space so expressive of that ethos, both in their architecture and in the great ceremonial dances Scully considers ""the most profound works of art yet produced on the American continent."" the author Trumbull Professor of Art History at Yale, whose books range from Modern Architecture to The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods, here turns to a landscape and a people for whom he feels not only ""love and admiration,"" but obviously that fine Greek thing, enthousiasmos. The result is at once lucid, impassioned and penetrating, personal and profound, crowded with vivid, dynamic visual and kinesthetic impressions of the diverse Indian dances. Scully makes you feel the drumbeat at the same time as he makes you aware of the relation of a roof line to a mountain ridge to a line of masked dancers, and the sacred continuity implied by that relation. A poet's empathy is his most startling characteristic: he can get inside the feel of a dance or a plaza space and divine (or imagine) its intimate meaning (""masks gleaming like the snouts of predators up out of the darkness""; ""the rattles like rain splashing downward, the drum thundering and calling to life""). At the same time Scully's book is full of informed thought on the parallels between Pueblo and Greek Dionysian rites; on the Pueblos' evolution of their great ceremonial systems simultaneously with more open architecture--as if to draw the power of the earth into human ritual--perhaps in response to drought; on the contrasts with Navaho and Apache culture; and much more. As well as an eloquent treatise on the relation of human meaning to form, this is one of the most valuable tributes yet paid by a European-American to the native culture.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1975
ISBN: 0226743926
Publisher: Viking