By Philip P. Arnold
How do humans meaningfully occupy the land? In sixteenth-century Mexico, Aztec and Spanish understandings of land shaped the foundation in their cultural identities. Their certain conceptions of land additionally verified the disturbing personality of cultural touch. As Philip P. Arnold continues in consuming panorama, valuable to Aztec meanings of land have been ceremonies to Tlaloc, god of rain, fertility, and earth. those ceremonies integrated baby sacrifices for rain and corn, priestly auto-sacrifices at lakes, mountain veneration, and ancestor worship. What unifies those ceremonies, contends Arnold, is the Aztec knowing of meals. by way of feeding deities of the land, people may well devour. Seeing the valley of Mexico as Tlalocan (the position of Tlaloc) and characterizing it as an "eating panorama" illustrates an Aztec mode of occupying land. whilst, Arnold demonstrates that the very texts that open a window on Tlaloc ceremonies have been created through Spanish missionaries. rather vital was once Sahagn's Florentine Codex, which--as used to be the case with the paintings of different ethnographers--was meant to break Aztec ceremonies via exposing them via writing. utilizing texts to bare a pre-Columbian previous, accordingly, is complex. Arnold for this reason indicates another analyzing of the texts on the subject of the fabric surroundings of the Valley of Mexico. through connecting ceremonies to precise water classes, mountains, vegetation, and animals, Arnold finds a extra encompassing photograph of Aztec ceremonies, revealing the distance among indigenous and colonial understandings of land. Indigenous recommendations of occupying land in Mexico inquisitive about ceremonies which addressed the fabric stipulations of lifestyles, whereas colonial innovations of occupying land founded round books and different written fabrics akin to Biblical and classical texts, ethnographies, and criminal files. those precise methods of occupying Tlalocan, concludes Arnold, had dramatic results for the formation of the Americas. Filling a niche within the assurance of Aztec cosmology, consuming panorama brings hermeneutics to archaeology and linguistic research in new ways in which can be of curiosity to historians of faith and archaeologists alike.
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Additional resources for Eating Landscape: Aztec and European Occupation of Tlalocan
Introduction to a Mesoamerican Landscape 33 Tlaloc and the Sources 33 Etymologies of Tlaloc 35 Tlaloc Iconography at Teotihuacan 39 Tlaloc Archaeology, Ethnology, and Ecology 46 Templo Mayor 49 The Body in Mesoamerican Time and Space 53 3. Rituals to Tlaloc 77 I-Atl CahualoWater Left; Drought 78 VI-EtzalcualiztliEating Bean [Maize] Stew 92 XIII-TepeilhuitlFestival of the Mountains 107 XVI-AtemoztliDescending Water 112 4. The Ritual Cosmology of Tlalocan 129 Earth Body 130 Vital Fluids 143 Plant and Animal Beings 154 Eating and Giving Food 159 Part II: Tlalocan and New Spain: Hermeneutics of Occupation in the Valley of Mexico 5.
Merleau-Ponty describes this as an essential prejudice that is a necessary part of living in the world. In his method, van der Leeuw advocates epoché, or interpretive restraint, as a way of overcoming an investigator's preknowledge of existence. By bracketing one's own categories, one can effectively enter into meaningful relationships with those who have rendered the world in other ways. While cultural ecology shares the same commitment to material existence as does phenomenology and the Tlaloc cult, it is unable to exercise epoché.
Examinations of material existence must account for a variety of interpretations. At the same time, explanations of matter in which what is considered "real" has already been rigidly predetermined do violence to the scholar by limiting an understanding of alternative modes of existence. Interpretive violence is suffered in both directions. Contemporary renderings of pre-Columbian Aztec social forms have direct consequences for contemporary Nahua and non-Nahua people. In the case of the Tlaloc cult, which is still practiced among many Nahua people, typologizing the Page 11 significance of matter in a way that excludes Aztec interpretive strategies establishes an artificial social context by which to judge Mexican Indians.