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date: 17 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter details major figurine developments in the ancient Andes and discusses new understandings based on figurine form, function, and imagery. Great formal diversity characterizes the long history of their use. The most active traditions occurred along the coast, while data from the highlands and eastern slopes are more limited. Certain regions, especially the north coast, show longevity in the use of figurines, especially in household, funerary, and offering contexts. Figurines were important for their role in embodying identity (e.g. gender, fertility, status) as well as alterity. Production and ritual embued them with divine powers and agency. Figurine use and imagery also show dual structures, often manifested in gendered pairs or object sets. Finally, Andean figurines were important for their interactions with other contexts and things, including other figurine-like items: they inspired their own small worlds of sociality.

Keywords: dual structures, agency, Andean figurines, gender, alterity, sociality

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