Assembling Bodies: Multimediality in Nahua Precious Costumery

Author(s): Allison Caplan

Year: 2021


This is an abstract from the "Polychromy, Multimediality, and Visual Complexity in Mesoamerican Art" session, at the 86th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The working of precious materials—greenstones, shells, turquoise, gold, and feathers—represented an arena of artistic specialization and tailored, technological expertise among the Late Postclassic Nahuas. Such specialized productions were almost exclusively destined to serve as components of multimedia costumes, which adorned and made tangible the bodies of rulers, nobles, god-impersonators, and gods. This presentation will examine the practices of assemblage implicit in multimedia costumes, asking how the layering and juxtaposition of different precious devices and materials can be understood as itself a Nahua artistic practice, guided by key aesthetic tenets related to movement, brilliance, and sound. This analysis brings to the fore Nahua approaches to assemblage as an artistic strategy and asks how such display-oriented practices intersect with and generate new understandings of the materials and skills entailed in earlier stages of production.

Cite this Record

Assembling Bodies: Multimediality in Nahua Precious Costumery. Allison Caplan. Presented at The 86th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. 2021 ( tDAR id: 467256)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 18.48 ; max long: -94.087; max lat: 23.161 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 32478