Presentation and Representation: Ixiptla and the Material Agency of the Sculptural Image

Author(s): Kristi Peterson

Year: 2016


Devotional sculptures and their attendant ritual interactions allow for pointed critical engagement with the very nature of images, both formally and in the intersection of art and sacra. To that end, this paper will explore the manner by which ixiptla (lit. representation), a type of central Mexican cult effigy, functioned to shape conceptions of space, place, and cultural identity in the Postclassic Period. By investigating their position within the visual milieu, I posit that, through their material agency, ixiptla were crucial in the formation of the aforementioned social systems in pre-Columbian central Mexico. This paper further argues that sacred images are, as a class of representation, indices of collective memory and nostalgia through the mythic narratives inscribed upon the objects themselves and their usage. They in turn form the visual rhetoric that is illustrative, and formative, of the construction of space, place, and identity. This paper will specifically address the manner in which these images defined the idea of place, primarily through their position, movement within, and integration with both the physical and cultural landscape. In the manner of a community presenting itself to itself, they both display the overarching cultural matrix as well as participate in its formation.

Cite this Record

Presentation and Representation: Ixiptla and the Material Agency of the Sculptural Image. Kristi Peterson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405068)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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