Style, Memory, and the Production of History: Aztec Black-on-Orange Pottery in Xaltocan, Mexico

Author(s): Kristin De Lucia

Year: 2017


This paper will explore shifting patterns in ceramic consumption and stylistic design during the Postclassic period (AD 900-1350) at the site of Xaltocan in the Basin of Mexico. Xaltocan is the only site in the northern Basin of Mexico associated with a large percentage of early Black-on-Orange pottery. This same pottery is rare at contemporaneous sites located a few kilometers away. Because Black-on-Orange ceramics were used by elites and commoners alike, and also cross-cut various ethnic and linguistic groups, there would have been multiple potentialities and entanglements associated with stylistic shifts in pottery. I argue that rather than self-driven or inevitable processes, shifts in the style and consumption of Black on Orange pottery represented explicit ideological statements about the creation of difference and identity. Similarly, I argue that periods of stasis in stylistic design, as well as boundaries in pottery use, were actively maintained rather than a consequence of non-interaction. Although this paper focuses primarily on stylistic traditions within the Basin of Mexico, it may help us to understand styles more broadly as active processes linked to ritual and identity, while also involved in the construction of power and the production of history.

Cite this Record

Style, Memory, and the Production of History: Aztec Black-on-Orange Pottery in Xaltocan, Mexico. Kristin De Lucia. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429612)

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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): 17179