Number 14

Editor’s note: This content is archival.

Nahua Newsletter

November 1992, Number 14

The Nahua Newsletter

With support from the Department of Anthropology

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

Alan R. Sandstrom, Editor

A Publication of the Indiana University

Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Contents

Nahua Newsletter news

Welcome to the 14th issue of the Nahua Newsletter, your international link with
others interested in the history, language, and culture of Nahuatl-speaking peoples.
This issue contains news about an upcoming Nahua symposium at the American
Anthropological Association meetings, information on new publications including works
in contemporary Nahuatl that can be purchased, a new electronic network for Nahua
specialists, discovery of a pre-Hispanic mural in Puebla, one book review, a directory
update, and much more.

The editor would like to announce that the Library of Congress has issued an
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) to the Nahua Newsletter, which will appear
on the masthead of the next issue. The number is ISSN 1066-0089. This number uniquely
identifies the NN, which will aid in bibliographic control both for libraries and
readers.

As editor, it is my pleasure to publish items that would be of interest to NN
subscribers, so please forward any news of events or discoveries, lists of
publications, announcements, information, questions, suggestions, or requests for
cooperation so that I can include them in the next issue. If your text is more than a
few lines in length please send it in hard copy and on a 3.5-inch disk (either double
density or high density) using Word Perfect software. This saves much work and insures
that what you send will be communicated accurately.

Is anyone interested in receiving a complete run of back issues of the Nahua
Newsletter? What about for your department or library collections? The editor will make
issues 1 through 14 available to interested parties for the nominal fee of $10, the
money to be applied to finance the publication of future issues. Please send news,
announcements, and requests for back issues to:

Alan R. Sandstrom, Editor
Nahua Newsletter
Department of Anthropology Indiana-Purdue University 2
101 Coliseum Blvd. East
Fort Wayne, IN 46805

If you find the Nahua Newsletter of interest and useful in your work, please
consider making a donation to support our publication efforts. It is the editor’s
intention to continue mailing future issues to interested scholars and students free of
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the continuation of the NN. All donations are tax deductible. Please make checks
payable to Indiana University, annotated “for Latin American Studies” and send to:

Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
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Bloomington, IN 47405

AAA Meeting News

Jane Hill has organized a Nahua symposium, entitled “The Ongoing Encuentro: Nahua
Ethnohistory, Culture, and Language” at the 1992 annual meeting of the American
Anthropological Association. The AAA meeting will be held December 2-6 in San
Francisco. The symposium has attracted such a large number of participants that it will
be divided into two sections on December 6th. The first is scheduled from 8:00 a.m. to
10:15 a.m. and the second from 10:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. According to the preliminary
schedule the symposium will be held in the Continental Ballroom of the San Francisco
Hilton Hotel. Following is a list of participants and their paper titles in the order
in which they will appear in the program.

Susan Milbrath (Florida Museum of Natural History) Representations of Mexican
Indians in Sixteenth-Century European Art Robert Haskett (Oregon) Nahua Views of the
Spanish Invaders in Early Cuernavaca Stephanie Wood (Oregon) Anti-Spanish Sentiments in
the Ajusco Town Founding Document Samuel Villela (INAH) and Blanca Jimenez (UNAM-IIA)
El Codice Techialoyan de Chiepetlan (Inedito) y las Migraciones Nahuas Blanca Jimenez
(UNAM-IIA) El Lienzo de los Tlamitas Patricia R. Anawalt (California-Los Angeles)
Nahuatl Clothing Terms Correlated with Aztec Textile Motifs Constanza Vega Sosa
(INAH-Mexico) Los Gobernantes Fundadores Del Reino Del Tlachinollan de la Region
Tlapaneca-Mixteca-Nahua William R. Fowler (Vanderbilt) Land, Labor and Social
Stratification in Izalco, El Salvador Harold B. Haley Personal Identification Symbols
in Mesoamerican Codices and Lienzos Maria del Carmen Herrera (INAH-Museo Nacional de
Antropología) Nahua Naming Conventions Carlos Garma (Universidad Autonoma
Metropolitana-Iztapalapa) Religious Syncretism and Pentecostalism in the Sierra Norte
de Puebla, Mexico Richard Haly (California-Santa Barbara) To Become or Not to Become a
Mountain: Epistemology and Metaphor in Nahuatl Oral Traditions William O. Bright
(Colorado) Line Structure in Classical Nahuatl Texts Jane H. Hill (Arizona) The
Orations of the Tlahtohqueh Federico B. Nagel (UNAM-ENEP Acatlan) The First Nahuatl
Dictionaries Jose Antonio Flores Farfan (CIESAS-Mexico) A Mexicano Romance in the Alto
Balsas Frances E. Karttunen (Linguistics Research Center-U Texas, Austin) Post-Colonial
Nahuatl Dialect Differentiation

Discussant: Alfred W. Crosby (U of Texas-Austin)

News Items

(1) Tim Knab writes: Thirteen short volumes of oral traditions of the Sierra de
Puebla from the town of San Miguel Tzinacapan have been published in Nahuat and Spanish
by the Taller de Difusión de la Sociedad Agropecuaria del CEPEC, S. de S.S.,
Apdo. #1, Cuetzalan, Puebla 73506. Full sets are available from them at the price of
$60 (U.S) for libraries and $35 for individuals, or $8 per individual volume for
libraries and $5 per volume for individuals. There is a $3 handling charge on each
order. The first volume in the series is no longer available but will be
republished.

Maseual Sanilmej 1 Sentiopil, Hijo del maíz, Ijuak Nesik Taol, Cuando
apareció el maíz, Tekuani uan Chapolin, El tigre y el chapulín. 12
pp.

Maseual Sanilmej 2 Ijuak Nesik Tonal, Cuando apareció el sol, Amokualli uan
Itskuinti, El diablo y el perro. 40 pp.

Maseual Sanilmej 3 Se Okichpil Monamiktisnekia, El muchacho que se quería
casar, Takuatsin, el tlacuache. 40 pp.

Maseual Sanilmej 4 El conejo zapatero Juan del Monte. 40 pp.

Maseual Sanilmej 5 Eyi Iknimej Momachtijkej koyotajtol, Tres hermanos aprendieron
español, In Nanitaj kitasojtaya in tit, La vieja que guardaba el fuego,
Chikilich, La chicharra. 36 pp.

Maseual Sanilmej 6 Rosita uan Casados, La Rosita y los casados. 40 pp.

Maseual Sanilmej 7 Takauatsal, Secador de hombres, Ejekanenkej, Globo viajero. 40
pp.

Maseual Sanilmej 8 Se tokniuj tatsiuj, un hombre flojo. 44 pp.

Maseual Sanilmej 9 Grano de oro, Eyie Mikakaualmej, Tres huérfanos. 44
pp.

Maseual Sanilmej 10 Masakouat uan anillo de oro, La boa y el anillo de oro. 56
pp.

Maseual Sanilmej 11 Se Tatsiuj Sekuia, Un flojo tenía frío. 28 pp.

Maseual Sanilmej 12 Kuixin, El gavilán. 44 pp.

Xochipitsaua Sones indígenas de la región de Cuetzalan, Pue. 40.
pp.

The Northeastern Nahuatlatos organized by Tim Knab met at the Auberge de 4 Saisons
the weekend of May 9 and 10, 1992, to discuss texts. John Bierhorst discussed his
translation of the Anales of Cuauhtitlan that will be available from Arizona Press in
the fall. Louise Burkhart brought along the Nahuatl play she will be working on under
an NEH grant this year. Ed Calnek discussed the chronologies he is deriving from texts
and their relationships to concrete historical dating. Jorge Klor de Alva discussed his
work in the new edition of Miguel León-Portilla’s Broken Spears and The Aztec
Image of Self and Society: An Introduction to Nahua Culture from Utah Press as well as
his work with the Confesionarios and Chimalpain. Willard Gingerich discussed the
application of the techniques of modern literary criticism to Nahuatl texts and will be
working in conjunction with Tim Knab on applying those methods to specific texts of the
Cantares. Members of the group would like to know if anyone knows of the whereabouts of
a photographic copy of the Diario de Juan Bautista supposedly in the archives of the
Cathedral of the Virgin of Guadalupe, as none of us have been able to obtain access to
the original.

T.J. Knab’s anthology of the translations of Thelma D. Sullivan’s A Scattering of
Jades; Narrative and Performance: Literatures of the Aztec World of Ancient Mexico will
be published by Simon and Schuster. The manuscript Dreams of Lost Worlds: Dreaming,
Curing, and the Aztec Underworld in the Sierra de Puebla has been completed and is
being prepared for submission. Word Masters: Parameters of Performance, Metaphor and
Meaning in Modern Aztec Rhetoric from the Sierra de Puebla is in the final stages of
preparation. A collection of ethnographic tales entitled From Between Earth and Sky:
Stories of the Modern Aztec from the Sierra de Puebla, Mexico is also being prepared
for submission.

“Geografía del Inframundo I,” has been published in Cahiers du Gral, no. 19,
in Montreal, and another version will appear in Estudios. An expanded version of this
material will appear in English in a volume being edited by Peter T. Furst under the
title “Nehnemi ipan in Talocan: Life in the Holy Earth, The Aztec Underworld in the
Natural World of the Sierra de Puebla.” Another paper concerning Nahuat prayers,
“Nimitztatauhtia Talocan, ‘I Beseech Thee Most Holy Earth:’ Prayers and Incantations of
the Underworld,” will appear in Journal of Latin American Lore.

(2) J.F. Schwaller announces the creation of a Nahua electronic network called
NAHUAT-L that will facilitate communications among scholars. NAHUAT-L is an unmoderated
discussion list that will focus on Aztec studies in general and the Aztec language in
particular. Scholars interested in beginning projects will find the discussion list
useful in determining if others are already working in a particular field. The list may
also be used to answer questions about Nahuatl translations, historical details, and
all aspects of Aztec life and culture. Anthropologists, archaeologists, linguists,
historians, and all interested in the Aztecs are welcome to participate.

The languages of the list will be English and Spanish, although scholars are
encouraged to submit pieces in Nahuatl. The list will be used as a primary means of
publishing the guide to Aztec language manuscripts that was begun in Estudios de
Cultura Nahuatl. The network owner hopes to develop an FTP directory where Nahuatl
language texts can be stored for public use.

To subscribe to NAHUAT-L:

Internet users send e-mail to NAHUAT-REQUEST@ACC.FAU.EDU
Bitnet users send e-mail to NAHUAT-REQUEST@FAUVAX
The sole content of the message must be:

SUBSCRIBE NAHUAT-L {first name} {surname}

To post a message to the list members, address to:
NAHUAT-L@FAUVAX or NAHUAT-L@ACC.FAU.EDU

To cancel your subscription, send this message to NAHUAT-REQUEST:
UNSUBSCRIBE NAHUAT-L

Questions and requests for information should be sent to the list owner (see below).
Technical issues should be sent to the list manager.
List owner: J.F. Schwaller (schwallr@acc.fau.edu or schwallr@fauvax)
List manager: W.J. Kennedy (kennedy@acc.fau.edu or kennedy@fauvax)

(3) Doren L. Slade has just published a book entitled Making the World

Safe for Existence: Celebration of the Saints among the Sierra Nahuat of Chignautla,
Mexico (1992, University of Michigan Press, 300 pp. $34.50 cloth). The book presents an
in-depth description of the cult of the saints as practiced in Chignautla, Puebla in
the central highlands of Mexico. Data gathered over twenty years of field research and
the rich interpretations offered allow the reader to explore Chignauteco cosmology as
it is revealed in the elaborate rituals held to honor the saints. The primacy the
author assigns to the experience these Indians have of their world and the place of the
saints reveals the vitality of indigenous elements lying at the core of a world view
that has endured social and spiritual conquest within the larger context of political
and economic domination established after the Conquest. This book will especially
interest Nahua specialists, Mesoamericanists, and anthropologists in general and
graduate students in the field, as well as scholars of religion and social
psychologists.

Table of Index

Introduction
1. The Contextual Framework of the Mayordomía Complex
2. The Institutional Vehicles for Ritual Expression
3. The Economic Dimension of Sacralizing Activities
4. The Sacralizing Vehicles of Interpersonal Relations
5. The Design of Ritual Sponsorship
6. The Structural Design of Participation
7. Conclusions
Appendices, Notes, Glossary, Bibliography

(4) Edward Sisson writes that NN readers may be interested in a pre Columbian mural
discovered at Tehuacán Viejo, Puebla, in April 1991. The fieldwork was sponsored
by the University of Mississippi, a Fulbright Hayes Faculty Research Grant from the
U.S. Department of Education, and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e
Historia.

Tehuacán Viejo is the largest of three multiethnic “cacicazgos” that
controlled the Tehuacán Valley at the Spanish Conquest. Established in the 13th
century by Nahuatl-speaking Nonoalco migrants from Tula, these cacicazgos were
incorporated into the “Aztec Empire” in the third quarter of the 15th century.

Painted on the back (west) wall of a buried room, the mural was partially destroyed
by later construction. The preserved portion of the mural is ca 8.25 meters long by ca
2.25 meters high. A lower zone depicts red circles on a white stucco ground. The upper
zone has seven and a half (originally nine) polychrome shields painted on a burnt
sienna mud plaster ground. Identified motifs on the shields include the head of Xipe
Totec and a night sun from which the symbol “atl-tlachinolli” flows. The Xipe Totec is
strikingly similar to representations in the Codex Borgia. Above each of the painted
shields there is a small hole which is believed to have held a wooden peg on which an
actual shield was hung. The painted shields may represent ranks or grades of warriors,
the warrior society(ies), personal insignia, conquered towns (“subjetos”), or
individual deities.

The room was entered through a colonnaded doorway on the east. At least nine
alternating yellow, red, and blue bands were painted on the doorjambs and columns. The
color bands may represent the levels of heaven so that symbolically anyone leaving the
room would be descending from the heavens. Although the area beyond the doorway has not
been excavated, the doorway probably gives onto a sunken patio around which other rooms
are arranged.

(5) Marie-Noëlle Chamoux has sent a selected list of her publications on the
Nahuas of Huauchinango, Puebla, as an aid to scholars interested in contemporary Nahua
culture.

On Communal Organization, Economy, Family, and Social Change:

1979 “Système des charges et transformation des bases de l’institution
communautaire: l’exemple d’un village de la Sierra de Puebla.” Actes du XLIIème
Congrès International des Américanistes, Paris, 2-9 septiembre 1976, vil.
VI:151-58.

1981a Indiens de la Sierra. La Communauté paysanne au Mexique, Paris,
L’Harmattan, 1-397, 8 planches hors texte. [Translated into Spanish in 1987 as Nahuas
de Huauchinango: transformaciones en una comunidad campesina, Mexico, Instituto
Nacional Indigenista-CEMCA, 1-388.]

1987 “La roue de la fortune et le développment: Mobilité social dans
un village mexicain,” Cahiers de l’ORSTOM (Paris) 23(2):197-213.

On Indigenous Know-How, Gender and Technology, and Teaching Technology:

  • 1981b “La division sexuelle de travail chez les Indiens de Mexique:
    idéologie des roles et roles de l’idéologie,” Critiques de
    l’économie politique 17 (nouvelle série):68-84.
  • 1981c “Les savior-faire techniques et leur appropriation: le cas des Nahuas du
    Mexique,” L’Homme XXI(3):71-94.
  • 1983 “La division des savoir-faire textiles entre Indiens et Métis dans la
    Sierra de Puebla,” Techniques & Culture 2:99-124.
  • 1986a “Apprendre autrement,” in P. Rossel, ed. Demain l’artisanat?, Paris,
    Genève, Presses universaires de France, Cahiers de l’I.U.E.D., pp.
    209-35.
  • 1988 “Héritage culturel et innovation: les blouses de femmes de la
    Huastèque (Mexique),” (en collaboration avec F. Cousin), Techniques &
    Culture 11:95-145.

On Ideology:

1980 “Orphée nahua,” Amerindia 5:113-22.

1989b “La notion nahua d’individu: Un aspect de tonalli dans la région de
Huauchinango, Puebla,” D. Michelet, ed. Enquetes sur l’Amérique Moyenne:
Mélanges oferts à Guy Stresser-Péan, Mexico, INAH-CEMCA,
303-10.

Unpublished:

1986 “The Conception of Work and Working in Nahuatl-speaking Communities in the Sierra
de Puebla, Mexico,” paper read in symposium “What Happened to the Aztec Empire?” at
annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Philadelphia.

(6) Anne-Marie Wohrer writes: In November I received my doctorate in Social
Anthropology and Ethnology in Paris with the equivalent of Summa cum laude. The
director of the thesis was M.J. Galarza and the members of the jury were M.G.
Stresser-Péan, J.P. Berthe, C. Duverger, and M. Thouvenot. The title of my
dissertation was “Xipe Totec — Tlacaxipehualiztli: Glyphic Study of a Divine Aztec
Complex; The Festival, the God.” The dissertation is in five volumes, two of text and
three of plates. There is a microfilm edition in French (soon available) and a printed
edition in Spanish will be published by INAH in Mexico City.

The main purpose of the research is the creation of a kind of dictionary containing
pictographs related to the god Xipe Totec and to the related gods Tlatlauhqui
Tezcatlipoca, Camaxtli, and Itztapaltotec. The second purpose is the creation of a
glossary of Indian terms (Nahuatl, Mixtec, Cuicatec, Tarascan) related to that glyphic
complex.

The theoretical basis of the method is that the image which appears in an Indian
manuscript belongs to a writing system still to be discovered. The image is a drawing
loaded with phonetic content (a word or part of a word). To discover that relation, the
result of which would be the reading of the image, we need first to analyze the image
as a drawing and second to look for terms related to it. I consider my research as a
necessary preliminary to the reading of the image.

The methods for analyzing the drawings and gathering the Indian terms are
extensively explained in volume I (245 p.). Analysis of the drawings that form part of
what I call the “glyphic complex” follows three steps, with each step corresponding to
one volume of plates. Volume II, the first step in the analysis, contains related
images selected out of a large number of pre- and post-Columbian manuscripts, mural
paintings, and engravings (66 color plates). I have provided complete reproductions of
these images including their immediate surroundings. I call them “general
pictographs.”

In Volume III (85 color plates), the second step of the analysis, I provide drawings
of the general pictographs, systematically broken down into their constitutive
elements. At this stage of the analysis the drawings have been reduced to what I call
their “constitutive parts.” Volume IV (35 plates) contains the third analytical step
and contains what I call the “glyphs.” These are the minimal graphic (and probably
phonetic) expressions of that divine complex obtained by selecting among the
constitutive parts. The Yopitsontli, the feather of Tlauhquecholli, the Chicahuaztli,
the zapote-leaf skirt, the mask of human skin, and the clothes made of human skin are
among the most common glyphs related to the divine complex.

As regards the gathering of Indian terms related to the Xipe Totec
Tlacaxipehualiztli Complex, the method consists of gathering texts and creating a
glossary, both of which are contained in Volume V (168 p.). The texts have been
selected from 16th- and 17th-century sources and are presented as they originally
appear. The Indian terms (mostly Nahuatl) in the glossary have been extracted from the
texts without any modification of their spelling. Each term is followed by its origin,
an analytical translation into French, and reference to figures in the plates.

The dissertation begins after the usual forwards and acknowledgments with a general
introduction and an exhaustive description of the festival of Tlacaxipehualiztli. I
attempt in the conclusion to establish a link between a selected number of glyphs and
Indian terms and to trace particular religious practices in the names of present-day
villages, villages where the Xipe cult was probably very active in pre-Columbian times.
Volume I contains a large bibliography and an Index of Indian names.

(7) John Carlson communicates the following items: A copy of my study
“Venus-regulated Warfare and Ritual Sacrifice in Mesoamerica: Teotihuacan and the
Cacaxtla ‘Star Wars’ Connection,” which is an expanded version of the paper I presented
at the Third “Oxford” International Conference on Archaeoastronomy, held in St.
Andrews, Scotland, 10-14 September 1990, was published as Center for Archaeoastronomy
Technical Publication No. 7 in 1991. It deals with evidence for a type of ritual
warfare, regulated by the motions of Venus, that originated in the highlands of Mexico
at the great cosmopolitan center of Teotihuacan sometime in the first millennium A.D.
It subsequently spread throughout much of ancient Mesoamerica, including the Maya
lowlands. This “Tlaloc Venus” warfare involved the taking of sacrificial captives for
the ritual transformation of blood into water invoking forces of human and agricultural
fertility. At the site of Cacaxtla in highlands Mexico, spectacular murals have
recently been discovered that depict such a Tlaloc Venus war and the “Venus Enclosure”
where the captives were executed.

An abbreviated version of this work will be published in the conference proceedings
volume entitled Astronomies and Cultures being edited by Clive Ruggles and Nick
Saunders. The Oxford conference monograph is being expanded with a more general
introduction and has been accepted for publication by a university press. The plan is
to include in my paper a “Scorpion Man” study, along with a more complete illustrated
report of the Cacaxtla murals and the relevant Teotihuacan materials. Your comments and
criticisms would be very welcome. I would appreciate any reprints or preprints of your
work that might be relevant to studies of Cacaxtla, Teotihuacan, and the Mesoamerican
world in the Epiclassic Period.

An article entitled, “Mural Masterpieces of Ancient Cacaxtla,” written by George
Stuart has been published in the September 1992 issue of the National Geographic
Magazine. I proposed this article based on my National Geographic grant research and
served as the chief consultant. It serves as a good source of color photographs of the
new mural discoveries in advance of final publication.

I am looking for references to scorpions and scorpion lore in Nahua ethnographic and
ethnohistorical sources. I am also interested in references to Venus lore and
observations: Morning Star, Evening Star, associations with San Juan, etc.

(8) The Denver Museum of Natural History has assembled an exhibit entitled, “Aztec:
The World of Moctezuma,” open to the public from September 26, 1992 to February 21,
1993. The exhibit represents a cooperative effort among the Denver Museum, the Museo
Nacional de Antropología e Historia, the Museo del Templo Mayor, and the
Mesoamerican Archives of the University of Colorado at Boulder. The NN editor spoke
with one of the Denver Museum staff members on the phone who said that the exhibit
features 300 artifacts, including burial offerings, statuary, ceramics, jewelry,
murals, a model of the Templo Mayor, dioramas of the chinampas and much more. The
exhibit was inaugurated on October 1 with a lecture by Carlos Fuentes. There will be
two lecture series and a symposium on the Aztecs among other programs. NN subscribers
have already been sent brochures from the Denver Museum, but anyone who would like more
information on the exhibit or related programs should write to:

Denver Museum of Natural History Public Programs 2001 Colorado Blvd. City Park
Denver, CO 8020

Book Reviews

As announced in NN number 12, book reviews will be a permanent feature in future
issues. Presses continue to send review copies of new publications and I am in the
process of distributing them to subscribers willing to undertake the task. If you would
like to be included in the list of reviewers please drop me a note. Most of the titles
that presses send are publications dealing with the Nahuas. However, I have decided to
include a few titles that will probably be of general interest to readers even though
their topics are not directly about Nahuas. For example, recent books received on
Columbus or informative works on the civilizations of Peru will be reviewed. If you
have any suggestions regarding book reviews please let me know.

Paracas Art and Architecture: Object and Context in South Coastal Peru. Edited by Anne Paul. Iowa City, Iowa: University of Iowa Press, 1991. Pp. 445. $29.95. ISBN 0-87745-327-6.

Anne Paul’s symposium volume contains new information, new analyses of old
materials, and new perspectives on the Paracas phenomenon that flourished during the
Early Horizon (ca. 900 BC to 200 BC) and Early Intermediate Periods (200 BC to AD 600)
on the southern Peruvian coast. This work may interest Mesoamericanists since the Early
Horizon of the Andes shares some characteristics with Formative and Preclassic Olmec
cultural florescence in Mesoamerica. Chapter 1 by Anne Paul offers an overview of
Paracas culture. She provides a brief history of archaeological investigations followed
by a discussion of Paracas chronology. Paul includes an important summary of
radio-carbon dates and correlations with standard Andean culture histories. She
attempts to clarify the meaning of the term “Paracas” by disentangling how the word is
used when discussing textiles, pottery, and architecture. This chapter is an important
orientation for those not familiar with Paracas, and a useful treatment for seasoned
Andeanists. Richard Daggett’s chapter on the history of Paracas archaeological
investigations orients the reader to the historical context of Paracas research.
Archaeologists already familiar with Paracas and those beginning in-depth research into
Paracas culture will find this chapter indispensable as a resource.

Dwight T. Wallace provides a technical review of painted textiles known as the
Carhua textiles. These textiles contain motifs common to the first widespread artistic
style in the Andes, the Early Horizon phenomenon known as Chavín. The pervasive
use of humanoid figures, winged figures, caimans, and felines among these textiles may
offer interesting comparisons of the use of these motifs in other American pre Hispanic
art. One drawback of this article is that it assumes that a reader has a thorough
understanding of Chavín culture and how it may relate to Paracas cultures.

Chapter 4, by Mary Frame considers woven headbands from the Paracas
Necrópolis site and the knowledge encoded on these headbands. Frame concludes
that the orderly variation found in fabric structure images and in number and color
variation indicates that the people buried at Paracas Necrópolis had a
sophisticated classification system of abstract phenomena. Further, this system of
classification was used on natural phenomena such as plants, animals, and humans. She
does not, however, develop this scheme any further, or provide a test of her
hypothesized classification scheme.

Anne Paul provides a discussion of the significance of a particular bundle burial
from Paracas Necrópolis. One potentially useful method of investigating class
differences as reflected in Paracas burials is provided by Paul in labor estimates for
the production of the materials found in a bundle. She finds a degree of individuality
in artistic expression of Paracas motifs that may have been used to express the
individuality of the person buried with the textiles.

Chapter 6 is a detailed physical and chemical analysis of Paracas textile fibers by
Kathryn Jakes. Jakes hopes to develop methods for making inferences about the growth of
textiles (her biologic context), the treatment of textiles in their systemic cultural
context, and the transformations that textiles undergo once buried (her diagenic
context). She employs technologies such as photomicrography, SEM, X-ray, and infrared
microspectroscopy. These methods enable Jakes to identify the genus of plants and
animals, dyes, use of textiles in the past, and how dehydration degrades these fibers
through time. This chapter should be of interest to both researchers working on Paracas
materials and those who work with textiles in general. Ann Peters attempts to draw
inferences about the Paracas world view of ecology and society from embroidered images
on Paracas textiles. Overall, there was an emphasis on the exotic in textile motifs.
She also mentions that the juxtaposition of predator prey elements indicates a
mutualism between predator and prey, rather than simple domination. Unfortunately,
Peters ignores much of the ethnographic work that has been done on Andean iconography
and cosmology.

Sarah Massey discusses the implications of settlement pattern and ceramic styles for
the politics of Paracas society. She draws inferences based on ceramic uniformity that
there was an early coalescence of power in the Ica valley, and that this centralized
control diminishes as reflected in a decrease in pottery shapes, decorative techniques,
and designs. While Massey may be tracing shifts in social organization through the
culture history of the Ica valley, she does so with little or no methodological basis.
Her tacit assumption is that pots equal polities, without providing a methodological
argument as to why this should be so.

The final chapter of “Paracas Art & Architecture,” by Helaine Silverman,
considers the archaeological problems of defining Paracas, and what Paracas culture
means in relation to other archaeological cultural manifestations on the south Andean
coast. She, like Paul in Chapter 1, provides very useful tables that orient the reader
in time and place to Paracas culture. Silverman focuses on data from the Paracas site
including pottery and textiles. Silverman provides some reconstruction of Paracas
society, based primarily on grave goods. Much of Silverman’s analysis of cultural
relations between societies rests on equations of pottery styles and political units as
in Massey’s article. Overall, Silverman’s article provides a useful summary of Paracas
culture for both expert and newcomer.

The primary critique of this volume is of the methods employed to make inferences
from archaeological materials. The assumption that polities and political influence can
be equated with stylistic elements on pottery is nowhere justified. Likewise, the
assumption that differential distribution of grave goods represents differential wealth
and class structure in society is not justified, although there is a large body of
literature on stylistic and mortuary studies that could inform this research. A final
general critique concerns the lack of regard in this volume for what contemporary
Andean ideology can offer interpretations of the Paracas past. I am not suggesting that
Paracas ideology is encapsulated in modern Andean ideology. However, this does not mean
that contemporary Andean ideology might not provide some useful models that could be
tested on archaeological data.

This collection of articles will be indispensable for specialists working on Paracas
culture. The first and last chapters provide useful overviews of Paracas culture.
Mesoamericanists with interests in the Formative and Preclassic may find useful
parallels and contrasts in the Paracas materials. Readers unfamiliar with Andean
archaeology should first consult standard overviews such as Lanning’s Peru before the
Incas, or Lumbreras’ The Peoples and Cultures of Ancient Peru. The Paracas phenomenon
is similar to other material-culture developments around the world while having its own
unique expression in the coast of southern Peru, and this volume is a useful
contribution to our knowledge of that phenomenon.

Lawrence A. Kuznar
Indiana-Purdue University at Fort Wayne
 

Lost Nahua Newsletter Subscribers

The following subscribers have changed address and the last issue of the Nahua
Newsletter was returned to the editor. Does anyone have information on the current
whereabouts of Claudine Hartau (Germany), Carolyn Sexton Roy (Mexico), Sylvia Marcos
(Mexico), José Alberto F. Zepeda S. (Mexico), and Jonathan D. Amith
(Mexico)?

Illustrations this issue

The illustrations that appear in this issue are taken from The Aztec Image of Self
and Society: An Introduction to Nahua Culture by Miguel León Portilla,
University of Utah Press, 1992.

Directory Updates

Editor’s note: For privacy reasons, Directory mailing lists are only provided on the print version. If you have any questions, please contact the editor.

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