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Symbols of the Spanish Conquest: Early Colonial period figurines from the Basin of Mexico and the Michoacán

Author(s): PATRICIA FOURNIER ; Alan Avila-Ortiz ; PARESKEVI KOUVATSOU

Year: 2015

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Summary

The Spanish intrusion in Mexico brought indigenous peoples into contact with a Hispanic cultural system, creating a fusion of multiethnic societies each with its own religious, social, and economic values. Our research considers how material culture is formed and transformed through a variety of processes involving structure and practice in specific contexts, which we glean through archaeological collections and documentary records. We focus on the materiality of ceramic figurines made by the Nahua and Purepecha during the 16th and early 17th centuries, to study modes of manufacture, form, decoration, and particularly continuity and change in imagery. The Spanish conquest and the subsequent Christian indoctrination process resulted in the disappearance of material culture symbols associated with indigenous religion, including idolatrous representations prevalent in pre-Columbian ceramic figurines. Post-Conquest figurines portrayed different ethnic and social groups, and the sacred became the secular. These hybrid artifacts have a symbolic foundation in ideology and world view, for the construction of political organization and other expressions of structural components of society. Their symbols tended to solidify within the indigenous population the imposed way of life, economic and political order, and social organization.

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Symbols of the Spanish Conquest: Early Colonial period figurines from the Basin of Mexico and the Michoacán. Alan Avila-Ortiz, PATRICIA FOURNIER, PARESKEVI KOUVATSOU. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396386)


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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