Chapter

Approaching Mesoamerican Figurines

Katherine A. Faust and Christina T. Halperin

in Mesoamerican Figurines

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780813033303
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039350 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813033303.003.0001
Approaching Mesoamerican Figurines

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One of the most notable features of Mesoamerican figurines is that they are not without iconic quality—they are able to portray humans, animals, and supernaturals in small-scale and round forms. These figurines should be perceived as much more than iconic referencing since they serve as social process indices of the ancient people who made and utilized them. Also, they are able to heighten the understanding of ancient Mesoamerican political economies, ritual and religion, gendered ideologies, and the various aspects of social practice and change. Examining these figurines draws attention to heterarchical or “bottom-up” models compared to the conventional “top down” models which are often used. As these figurines have rarely become the main focus in scholarship, this book highlights how important these figurines were to the Mesoamerican peopls through presenting case studies regarding different theoretical frameworks and approaches.

Keywords: Mesoamerican figurines; heterarchical models; gendered ideologies; political economies; ritual religion; social practice; social process index

Chapter.  8629 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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