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Lady of Cofitachequi



Illustration of the queen of Cofitachequi, a kingdom in South Carolina. She was said to rule over this kingdom and met with Hernando de Soto in the early 16th century. This was reconstructed based on archeological information at the site where they met (Mulberry), and the accounts that describe the encounter and her appearance. She wears an adornment of shells and carolina parakeet feathers on her head.

The skirt design is based on pottery found at the site and the white color is based on description of white linen textiles. The cloth itself is a bleached tightly woven mulberry linen. Due to her status as a leader, I gave her a feather cloak and going with the white color theme from the swallow-tailed kite bird.

The wooden post seen next to her is similar to those seen in North Carolina by the Algonquian Secotan people. I also drew her tattoo's based on illustrations from there since we don't really have examples of women's tattoo's unfortunately. Her footwear could be either moccasins or sandals. Most of her jewelry is made of pearls, which were gifts she is described to have given de Soto when they arrived.

Unlike many depictions of Mississippian temples, based on the text it seems this did not have a thatch roof but cane mats arranged in a dome like wigwams. Another Mississippian temple with this arrangement can be seen among the Natchez. The murals on the temple depict the mythic figure Red Horn and his friend fighting an underworld monster and feathered horned serpents. Apparently the temple was dedicated to war so this seemed appropriate.

According to the story she was taken captive by Hernando de Soto but she managed to escape with the help of a slave. The two escaped at night. Her name is not known, though since some kingdoms were named after their rulers it may be Cofitachequi itself. Nevertheless, I thought it would be nice to highlight her story and do a more accurate illustration from the ones I have seen.
Image size
1500x2384px 2.14 MB
© 2021 - 2023 Kamazotz
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Eldr-Fire's avatar

WOW, this is incredible! I had no idea about her or her kingdom before. Thank you for sharing her story with this incredible illustration! I love the sense of purpose and self-assurance in her stance. You did a really nice job on the details of her clothing, and I love all the architectural details too.