Tennessee Is About To Get a New State Artifact

A Native American sculpture is about to become Tennessee’s state artifact

David H. Dye, University of Memphis

Tennessee is in the process of adding to their state symbols, and a sandstone statue could be the Volunteer State's official state artifact. If the relevant bill passes, Sandy, a kneeling man carved by Native American artisans over 700 years ago, will join, the Tennessean reports, "nine state songs, a state poem, a state tartan and two state paintings (of a raccoon and a quail)" in representing the state.

Sandy was found in Wilson County, Tenn., in the 1930s, along with a few other statues. This isn’t the statue's first brush with fame. Sandy's furrowed brow and quizzical expression were featured on a postage stamp in 2004, as part of a series on Native American Art. 

Tennessee isn’t the only state with an artifact to represent it, either. The Official California State Prehistoric Artifact is called the Chipped Stone Bear and was carved roughly 7,500 years ago. Nevada’s State Artifact is a 2,000-year-old duck decoy made of bulrushes. Ohio added their state artifact last year, the Adena pipe, carved from pipestone.   

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