As the Whorl Turns

Geoffrey McCafferty and Sharisse McCafferty

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

As the Whorl Turns

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  • Industrial Archaeology



Woven textiles were highly prized commodities in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, to the extent that they were commonly used as tribute items and even as a standard of value in commercial exchange. This article discusses ways that textile production has been approached archaeologically in terms of both its function and cultural meanings. Textile production was important both functionally and symbolically. Major female deities from throughout Mesoamerica were closely associated with this important aspect of domestic production, which was also linked metaphorically with sexual reproduction. Textile symbolism in Mixtec codices were also used to denote architectural and natural spaces, as a metaphor for the acculturation of the landscape.

Keywords: Mesoamerica; textile production; woven textiles; female deities; symbolism

Article.  3629 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region ; Industrial Archaeology

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