National Geographic : 1946 Jan
© National Geographic Society Painting by W. Langdon Kihn Past Battle Trophies Mounted on Poles, Priests of the Taensa LeaveTheir Temple This tribe of the lower Mississippi Valley was ruled by a despotic "representative of the sun on earth." A perpetual fire, tended and guarded byfour older men, was kept burning within the temple in the god's honor. The figures atop the temple are stylized eagles, which face the rising sun. This temple was the repository ofthe bones of departed chiefs, which were kept in baskets. La Salle visited this tribe in 1682 and found Spanish arms among them, obtained from some early Spanish expedition.