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Writing and ritual: the transformation to Mixteca-Puebla ceramics of Cholula

Abstract : Codex-style ceramics are considered to be manifestations of the so-called Mixteca-Puebla style, a graphic system that developed in central Mexico in the last centuries before the Spanish Invasion. These ceramics were particularly frequent in Cholula, an important holy city and pilgrimage center. Although this site had a long tradition of painted vessels, by the Late Postclassic (AD 1250-1521), the polychrome manufacture changed; polychromes incorporated a larger repertoire of vessel shapes, they were made with higher quality, and they were painted with more complex decoration. In this paper, we propose that these transformations in polychrome pottery relate to the development of writing and new forms of ritual practices in Cholula. We looked for operative principles in the decoration of polychromes, similar to those found in codices, taking the model developed by Mikulska (2015). We also used the Nahuatl notions of in tlilli in tlapalli and icuiloa to explain this particular form of writing-painting and suggest that the manufacturers of these vessels had special skills which made them part of a selected group of intellectuals or tlacuilos in Cholulan society. Here, the features of this transition will be described by comparing the shape, manufacture, and decoration of Middle (AD 1150-1350) and Late Postclassic (AD 1350-1550) polychromes of Cholula.
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Araceli Rojas Martínez Gracida, Gilda Hernández Sánchez. Writing and ritual: the transformation to Mixteca-Puebla ceramics of Cholula. Americae. European Journal of Americanist Archaeology, CNRS, 2019, 4, pp.47-70. ⟨hal-02469387⟩

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