Colors and Chants of the Flower World: The Use of Organic Colors in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican Codex Painting Traditions.
Author(s): Davide Domenici
This is an abstract from the "The Flower World: Religion, Aesthetics, and Ideology in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
The performance of non-destructive chemical analyses on Mesoamerican codices has provided an unprecedented understanding of the technological diversity of pre-Hispanic codex-painting traditions, as well as of their patterns of change in early colonial times. One of the most striking results has been the recognition that pre-colonial Central Mexican and Mixtec codex painting practices – in contrast with genres such as mural painting – clearly privileged the use of organic colors, mostly extracted from flowers.
This paper argues that this preference – which also required the development of complex techniques for the production of lakes and hybrids – depended on a deep-rooted, culturally established link among color, brilliance, flowers, and speech. Indeed, organic colors infused the manuscripts’ pages with a brilliance that was arguably seen as the manifestation of the creative power of speech, a power that Mesoamericans used to express through the flowery visual and linguistic metaphors of sprouting, bursting, or emitting fragrance and dew. The conjoining of the results of scientific analyses with visual and textual sources illuminates the link between color materiality and Mesoamerican esthetics, and shows how painting practices and technologies were conceived as meaningful ways to express the generative power of the Flower World.
Cite this Record
Colors and Chants of the Flower World: The Use of Organic Colors in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican Codex Painting Traditions.. Davide Domenici. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450453)
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;
Abstract Id(s): 22811