Eating Landscape: Aztec and European Occupation of Tlalocan by Philip P. Arnold

By Philip P. Arnold

How do humans meaningfully occupy the land? In sixteenth-century Mexico, Aztec and Spanish understandings of land shaped the foundation in their cultural identities. Their certain conceptions of land additionally proven the stressful personality of cultural touch.

As Philip P. Arnold continues in consuming panorama, significant to Aztec meanings of land have been ceremonies to Tlaloc, god of rain, fertility, and earth. those ceremonies incorporated baby sacrifices for rain and corn, priestly auto-sacrifices at lakes, mountain veneration, and ancestor worship. What unifies those ceremonies, contends Arnold, is the Aztec figuring out of foodstuff. via feeding deities of the land, humans may perhaps consume. Seeing the valley of Mexico as Tlalocan (the position of Tlaloc) and characterizing it as an "eating panorama" illustrates an Aztec mode of occupying land.

At an identical time, Arnold demonstrates that the very texts that open a window on Tlaloc ceremonies have been created by way of Spanish missionaries. fairly vital used to be Sahagn's Florentine Codex, which--as used to be the case with the paintings of different ethnographers--was meant to wreck Aztec ceremonies via exposing them via writing. utilizing texts to bare a pre-Columbian previous, as a result, is tricky. Arnold consequently indicates an alternate examining of the texts as regards to the cloth setting of the Valley of Mexico.

By connecting ceremonies to precise water classes, mountains, vegetation, and animals, Arnold finds a extra encompassing photo of Aztec ceremonies, revealing the distance among indigenous and colonial understandings of land. Indigenous innovations of occupying land in Mexico interested in ceremonies which addressed the fabric stipulations of lifestyles, whereas colonial innovations of occupying land headquartered round books and different written fabrics reminiscent of Biblical and classical texts, ethnographies, and felony records. those specific methods of occupying Tlalocan, concludes Arnold, had dramatic results for the formation of the Americas.

Filling a spot within the insurance of Aztec cosmology, consuming panorama brings hermeneutics to archaeology and linguistic research in new ways in which could be of curiosity to historians of faith and archaeologists alike.

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Extra resources for Eating Landscape: Aztec and European Occupation of Tlalocan (Mesoamerican Worlds)

Sample text

The intention will be to utilize the processes of a secondary creation of Tlalocan to pressure our current dominant understandings of occupying land. Thus, disjunctions between Tlalocan and the New World will be emphasized in chapter 7. Sahagún can be said to have been straining to occupy a utopian, or placeless, world. Contrary to indigenous understandings, a dominant colonial emphasis was placed on transcendence, salvation, heaven, etc. The defining features of colonial religion initiated an emphasis on carving out that utopian vision, which in turn transformed the materiality of the Americas into an abstract ideology.

In Part 1 ("Explorations of Tlalocan"), four key rituals to Tlaloc will be examined from the vantage point of the Mesoamerican preoccupation with the violence of consumption. As expressed by rituals regarding Tlalocan, the Aztec inhabited an eating landscape. The primary intention of Part 2 ("Tlalocan and New Spain: Hermeneutics of Occupation in the Valley of Mexico") is to develop a method by which to discuss the significance of the pre-Columbian Tlaloc cult. The methodology of the history of religion is used here to generate critical reflections on Aztec hermeneutics of occupation through an analysis of the disjunctions between Spanish and Aztec modes of occupying the Valley of Mexico.

AztecsRites and ceremonies. 2. AztecsLand tenure. 3. Aztec cosmology. 4. Tlaloc (Aztec diety) 5. Geographical perceptionMexicoMexico, Valley ofHistory. I. Title. 49dc21 99-10880 CIP 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01 00 99 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Page v For Sandy CONTENTS Page vii List of Illustrations ix Foreword xiii Acknowledgements xi Preface xv 1. Introduction: Orienting Questions and Methods 1 The Matter of Understanding 4 Part I: Explorations of Tlalocan 2. Introduction to a Mesoamerican Landscape 33 Tlaloc and the Sources 33 Etymologies of Tlaloc 35 Tlaloc Iconography at Teotihuacan 39 Tlaloc Archaeology, Ethnology, and Ecology 46 Templo Mayor 49 The Body in Mesoamerican Time and Space 53 3.

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