Reconsidering Olmec visual culture : the unborn, women, and creation / by Carolyn E. Tate
- Tate, Carolyn Elaine
- Austin : University of Texas Press, 2012.
- 1st ed.
- Physical Description:
- xvii, 339 pages : illustrations, plans ; 29 cm.
- The William and Bettye Nowlin series in art, history, and culture of the Western Hemisphere
- Rediscovering women and gestation in Olmec visual culture. A cradle of civilization ; Mesoamerica and its visual culture ; Early interpretations of the first known Olmec sculptures ; New questions in Olmec studies ; Is gender or gestation the compelling issue? ; How the book develops : content and methodologies -- The tale of the were-jaguar. The birth of the were-jaguar ; One were jaguar or many deities? ; The first attempt to stay the were-jaguar ; The were-jaguar as a shamanic alter ego ; Monstrous congenital anomalies ; Pantheons of deities or symbols of vital forces? ; Shamanism in an ecological context ; The rebirth of the maize deity ; Signs of life -- The sowing and dawning of the human-maize seed. Images of the unborn ; The formative Mesoamerican embryo and its matrix of associations ; Ethnographic analogies ; Hollow babies ; A contemporary baby in a boat : Ni~nopa ; Conclusions about embryos, fetuses, and babies -- Tracking gender, gestation, and narrativity through the early formative. The Archaic Period, 10,000 to 2000 BC : the beginning of visual symbols ; The Initial Formative, circe 1900 to 1400 BC ; The Early Formative, circa 1400-900 BC ; Fluctuations in visual culture during the Initial and Early Formative Periods ; Discussion: Maize technology I : fermentation ; Discussion: Maize technology II: nixtamalization -- La Venta's buried offerings : women and other revelations. Topography and sources of stone ; Discovery, excavation, and chronology of La Venta ; Surveying La Venta's visual culture through time ; Women and the unborn return to prominence -- Female water and earth supernaturals : the massive offerings, mosaic pavements, and mixe "work of the earth." Why construct massive offerings? ; Mixe beliefs in earth, water, and thunder supernormal entities ; La Venta's mosaic pavements ; Offerings inseminating the flowering earth ; Massive offerings : contained water ; Mixe healers, midwives, and rituals, and their Olmec antecedents ; Female shamans ; The mosaic pavements as conventionalized symbols ; Politics, protection, and healing -- A processional visual narrative at La venta. Previous investigations of Olmec creation narratives ; Patterns for the distribution of monumental sculptures ; A processional visual narrative -- La Venta's creation and origins narrative. An approach to visual narratives from preliterate societies ; The narrative stations (Station one: A womb with three fetuses ; Station two: A quincunx of thrones ; Station three: The dawning of human-maize ; Station four: The female sources of life : earth and water ; Station five: The bodiless heads ; Station six: The phallic column) ; Inserting politics into the creation and origins narrative ; Alternative reading orders ; Conclusions and questions -- A scattering of seeds. Assessing arguments for some major points ; Modes of communication ; Where did Olmec ideas go? ; Asking and answering the fundamental questions -- Appendix 1. La Venta monuments by format -- Appendix 2. Comparison of Mesoamerican creation and origins narratives -- Appendix 3. Shape-shifters and werewolves to were-jaguars : a brief chronology.
- 9780292728523 (cloth : alk. paper), 0292728522 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780292735491 (e-book), and 0292735499 (e-book)
- Bibliography Note:
- Includes bibliographical references and index.
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