Nahuatl for history. Explore the archaeology of Mesoamerica and South America.
Here is some tlatollotl about me. I am a third year Master's student in Anthropology. My primary area of interest is the Teuchitlan Tradition which spanned the Late Formative to Classic periods in Jalisco. My research interests are architectural energetics, landscape archaeology, symbolic archaeology, agency, corporate networks, migration, and linguistics.
The Walters Art Museum narrative
A mother proudly supports her male child who, with her help, stands securely on her lap. She sits in the proper position for women: legs folded to the side and concealed below her wrap skirt. This cream-slipped sculpture was made during the culmination of the shaft tomb tradition in West Mexico, when tombs were filled with spirited figural sculptures and decorated pottery vessels, and the bodies of the deceased were dressed in fine clothing and jewelry of shell and stone. The figures’ cream-slipped surface and the restrained painting with which her dress is depicted are characteristic of an artistic substyle of the famous El Arenal Brown sculptural tradition of northern Jalisco. Jalisco’s pottery sculptors created a vast array of figures portraying all manner of social and political personages. The figures are famous for the renderings of warriors brandishing shields and club-weapons and wearing helmets and armor of cotton batting. Others portray members of the ruling elite majestically standing with staff of office in hand. Shamans and healing rites were frequently depicted, as were individuals afflicted with diseases or congenital deformities. Portrayals of women were equally prominent, the majority featuring either their political or spiritual, shamanic powers or their magical ability to create life in the form of children. This sculpture is a particularly informal yet stately expression of the procreative power of women and their lifelong calling as nurturers.
The Walters Art Museum had this narrative with it,
"The Feasting Scene" constitutes a unique sculptural ceramic of exceptional quality produced by the Jalisco ceramicists of ancient West Mexico. Four female figures kneeling around a male figure comprise the sculptural assemblage. The figures are arranged on a circular bench supported by six cylindrical legs. The central figure, an imposing chief or cacique holds a tube or pestle in his left hand and an "hacha" or ceremonial axe in his upraised right hand. One female figure, directly facing the "cacique," holds a small shallow bowl in her right hand and a baton in her left hand. Two of the female figures rest a hand on the "cacique," a gesture indicating relatedness. A third figure, to the "cacique’s" right, rests one hand on the chief’s shoulder and the other on his elbow. The assemblage has been painted with a red and cream clay slip; details on each of the figures are rendered in resist-paint. Conventional to the Jalisco figural style are elongated faces, full rounded legs and torsos, erect posture, and vacant, staring eyes. The figures represent elite persons of West Mexico society as indicated by their ornate crested helmets, shoulder scarification, body and facial tattoos, and ear disks. Their position on a raised bench mirrors the context of circular, elevated platforms characteristic of Jalisco ceremonial architecture. These platforms were also painted red and white. Shaft-and-chamber tombs of high-ranking families have been found below the circular structures. A sculptural ceramic such as this would have been placed in mausolea of this type. This sculptural assemblage likely represents an elite family feasting ritual or commemorates an ancestral tradition. Such rituals involved consumption of fermented beverages by a select few. Sculptures depicting group rituals are extremely rare among the corpus of West Mexico ceramics. "The Feasting Scene" therefore represents a remarkable exception to Jalisco visual art conventions.