Consumption and Construction: Art, Sacra, and the Place of Empire in Postclassic Mexico

Author(s): Kristi Peterson

Year: 2017


In the pre-Columbian era of Mexico, devotional objects served to reinforce existing cultural systems while simultaneously shaping the overarching aesthetic narrative. This presentation will explore the manner by which ixiptla (lit. representation), a type of central Mexican cult effigy, functioned to form the visual rhetoric that is illustrative and formative of conceptions of space, place, and cultural identity in the late Postclassic Period. Within the category of devotional images, ixiptla are unique in that they feature a conceptual continuity with human performers, as a ritual actor can be transformed into a representation. This link functions to essentially turn the performative body into a living, acting object, and furthermore lends the sculptural corpus an agentive function.

This presentation will specifically address the broader visual systems in which ixiptla participated as an image type. This presentation concludes 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. Within the visual systems employed by the city-states of central Mexico, sacred imagery was merely one of multiple mechanisms designed to pull the periphery to the center and to actively construct specific cultural narratives.

Cite this Record

Consumption and Construction: Art, Sacra, and the Place of Empire in Postclassic Mexico. Kristi Peterson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 428864)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15535