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Finishes and Flourishes: Ceramic Encounters at the Edges of Empire in Spanish Colonial Central Mexico

Author(s): Lisa M Overholtzer

Year: 2017

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Spanish colonialism introduced a host of new pottery types to Indigenous peoples in central Mexico, creating material entanglements not present in the preceding Aztec imperial context. However, the possibilities afforded by these newly-arrived objects were not inevitable. This paper examines how several households at the peripheral Indigenous town of Xaltocan selectively and creatively consumed, appropriated, ignored, and rejected Spanish iconographic and technological elements. This analysis reveals 1) short-lived experimentation with glazing and European iconography on Aztec Black-on-Orange wares; 2) a simultaneous rejection of such elements for Redwares, resulting in thriving artistic production following an Indigenous trajectory; and 3) hybrid ceramic figurine forms through which Indigenous commentary on racial categories was presented. This contextual case study provides insight into the variable ways in which Indigenous peoples understood the Spanish colonial encounter, the ceramic ontologies that collided therein, and the economic opportunities it presented for craft production for Indigenous and Spanish consumers.

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Finishes and Flourishes: Ceramic Encounters at the Edges of Empire in Spanish Colonial Central Mexico. Lisa M Overholtzer. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435283)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -141.003; min lat: 41.684 ; max long: -52.617; max lat: 83.113 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 131

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America