Religion, Ritual, and Ideology in Epiclassic Highland Mexico

Author(s): Andrew Turner

Year: 2015


Studies of the visual systems of the major sites of Epiclassic Highland Mexico have tended to focus on their common writing system and similarity in art styles. There is much to be gained from these lines of inquiry, but relatively few works have investigated the shared religious content conveyed in Epiclassic artwork. This paper evaluates preexisting theories concerning Epiclassic pan-Mesoamerican cults and argues that religious and ideological beliefs concerning Flower World, a solar paradise inhabited by the souls of deceased warriors, were widespread, as represented in Epiclassic art and iconography. Imagery related to Flower World is prevalent in the artwork of Cacaxtla, Xochicalco, and Teotenango, but beliefs concerning the flowery paradise also spread along routes of exchange to more distant parts of Mesoamerica. This set of beliefs was inherited from Teotihuacan, but was adapted to suit the needs of the smaller Epiclassic polities. The Flower World complex valorized warfare and linked elites through shared ritual practice, identity, and exchange of exotic prestige goods. Investigation of the development of the Flower World complex is crucial for understanding broad-scale interactions during the Epiclassic.

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Cite this Record

Religion, Ritual, and Ideology in Epiclassic Highland Mexico. Andrew Turner. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396130)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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