The Weeping Baby and the Nahua Corn Spirit

Alan R. Sandstrom

in Mesoamerican Figurines

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780813033303
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039350 | DOI:
The Weeping Baby and the Nahua Corn Spirit

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In looking into meaning systems, symbols, and the emic aspects of their cultural studies, several North American anthropologists have drawn attention to interpreting the behavior of people. As such, meaning is associated with various social, ecological, economic, and political variables in explaining human behavior. This chapter argues that analysis relies heavily on meaning and this proves to be insufficient in explaining behavior because of the flexible nature of cultural symbols. The chapter attempts to look into how modern Nahua are able to infuse human body ideas into symbolism and religious thought. While the notion of the corn spirit represents the human body and is a fundamental symbol in Nahua religious ideology, understanding the role of the body is crucial to understanding what these symbols mean. Also, understanding Mesoamerican religion is shown to be best achieved through ethnographic, ethnohistorical, and archaeological studies.

Keywords: Nahua; religious ideology; corn spirit; human body; symbols; meaning system; human behavior

Chapter.  14030 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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