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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Aztec ceramic figurines are ubiquitous small finds in central Mexican domestic contexts. As expressive miniature representations of humans, animals, and temples that were distributed through an extensive market system, they provide a window into Aztec worldviews, regional economies, and the household realm. Yet they have received relatively scant archaeological attention, likely because of disciplinary bias toward the monumental and imperial. This chapter reviews this small but compelling corpus of research, identifying a series of six approaches that are loosely chronologically arranged: (1) defining Aztec figurines, (2) figurines as types and as representations of deities, (3) figurines in household ritual, (4) figurine production and exchange, (5) figurines and social identity, and (6) figurine materialities. This analysis also identifies challenges that remain, including a lack of published catalogues of figurine collections, and insufficient detailed contextual excavations of houses where figurines were produced and consumed.

Keywords: Aztecs, ceramic figurines, household ritual, production, exchange, social identity, materialities

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