Animal Imagery and the Mythic Level of Jama-Coaque Figural Style

Author(s): James A. Zeidler

Year: 2017


The mythological and iconographic analyses of Peter G. Roe have made seminal contributions to our understanding of Amerindian cosmology and religious thought in South America, both in the ethnographic present and in the prehispanic past. His unitary mythic model set forth in the Cosmic Zygote (1982) and explored in subsequent publications has convincingly demonstrated that this quintessentially Amazonian model has "deep-time" attributes that shed interpretive light on iconographic representations expressed in prehispanic Central Andean cultures such as Chavín and Moche. Less certain is its applicability to ceramic figural styles and iconographic representations found in post-Formative coastal Ecuadorian cultures such as Jama-Coaque where a particularly rich assemblage of human, plant, and animal imagery is found, albeit from looted artifacts now curated in national museums. This paper explores the iconographic interpretations of Andrés Gutiérrez Usillos (2011) in his impressive compendium of Jama-Coaque figural sculpture from the Banco Central museum collections entitled El Eje del Universo: Chamanes, sacerdotes y religiosidad en la cultura Jama Coaque del Ecuador Prehispánico. Roe’s mythic model is then brought to bear on this body of work to determine whether the model can provide an alternative interpretation of these Jama-Coaque "gods and mythic beings" expressed in ceramic sculpture.

Cite this Record

Animal Imagery and the Mythic Level of Jama-Coaque Figural Style. James A. Zeidler. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429071)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17102