Identity, Gender, and Power

Jeffrey P. Blomster

in Mesoamerican Figurines

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780813033303
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039350 | DOI:
Identity, Gender, and Power

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  • Prehistoric Archaeology


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One of the artifact categories that when studied helps provide information regarding how villagers during the Early Formative period perceived themselves, the human body, and their social identity, is clay figurines. Compared to other ceramic objects, these figurines depict physical and visual self-awareness. Not only did these figurines account for decisions regarding the miniaturization of the body form, they also served as media in which humans were able to formulate their understanding of embodiment. According to Douglass Bailey, these aided in expressing and in understanding relationships between individuals through “claiming and legitimating one's own identity or for suggesting and realigning the identity of others.” These figurines were widespread during a period of transformation in which new social roles were established in the early villages in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Keywords: Early Formative period; self-awareness; Oaxaca; Mexico; identity; body form; embodiment

Chapter.  9458 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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