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Conspicuous Consumption in the Basin of Mexico: Chinese Porcelains as Prestige Markers in the Eastern Teotihuacan Valley

Author(s): Patricia Fournier G. ; Cynthia Otis Charlton

Year: 2015

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Beginning with the 16th century opening up of the New World, New Spain was integrated into the complex trade networks of the expanding world system as part of the Spanish Empire in the Indies. Prior to the rise of capitalism in Europe, mercantilism dominated sociopolitical and economic development trends. Indirect contact with the imperial power of China by way of the Philippines led to the establishment of the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade starting in the 1570s. Exotic goods, including thousands of pieces of porcelain tableware, sumptuously adorned some residences and the haciendas of those who were able to afford the most exquisite and expensive ceramics available in New Spain. This paper illustrates the extent of conspicuous consumption of porcelain vessels at haciendas and ranches in the Teotihuacan Valley, a rural area in the Basin of Mexico, briefly comparing these archaeological assemblages with those of the capital of the viceroyalty, Mexico City, at the same period. During the Early and Middle Colonial period, Chinese goods were prestige markers that made and maintained social relationships and fixed public meaning among non-indigenous consumers.

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Conspicuous Consumption in the Basin of Mexico: Chinese Porcelains as Prestige Markers in the Eastern Teotihuacan Valley. Cynthia Otis Charlton, Patricia Fournier G.. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395180)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America