Style, Memory, and the Production of History: Aztec Pottery and the Materialization of a Toltec Legacy

This article explores the role of material culture, specifically ceramics, in the construction of identity, social memory, and understandings of the past in the Postclassic Basin of Mexico. As ceramics are used in everyday activities and eventually discarded and abandoned, they come to take on different meanings, associations, and roles and, thus, may influence the ideas and actions of those around them. This article examines patterns of use of ceramics within domestic contexts at the site of Xaltocan, Mexico, coupled with regional patterns of stylistic change and distribution, to explore the ways in which ceramics and ceramic style both shaped and were shaped by people’s conceptions of themselves and others. The results suggest that the adoption (and rejection) of style was an active choice on the part of producers and consumers. It is argued that Black-on-Orange ceramics were used by emerging city-states in Postclassic central Mexico to help materialize an idealized Toltec heritage.

Publication Date:
Dec 13 2018
Date Submitted:
Jun 21 2019
Current Anthropology

 Record created 2019-06-21, last modified 2019-08-06

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