Mesoamerican Figurines
Small-Scale Indices of Large-Scale Social Phenomena

Edited by Christina T. Halperin, Katherine A. Faust, Rhonda Taube, Aurore Giguet

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"A significant contribution to the literature on Mesoamerican and material culture studies since it treats the iconography, archaeology, and social life of figurines. The volume focuses on a very intriguing and little-studied art form, and it is refreshing for its focus on small or non-monumental art that is found in elite and non-elite contexts."--Joel Palka, University of Illinois, Chicago

"This overview of the state of art in the study of Mesoamerican figurines of all time periods is packed with new data and lively interpretation."--Richard Lesure, University of California, Los Angeles

Although figurines are among the most abundant class of artifacts known in the vast Mesoamerican culture, this is the premier single volume to examine these figurines from the Olmec to the Aztec civilizations.

These small, often ceramic objects are commonly found at many archaeological sites. They appear in the shape of humans, supernatural beings, animals, and buildings. Mesoamerican Figurines brings together many seasoned and respected scholars of art history, archaeology, ethnohistory, anthropology, and social theory to analyze these objects by their stylistic attributes, archaeological content, function, and meaning.

Because of their variety and number, figurines represent a rich dataset from which ancient Mesoamerican identity and practices can be ascertained, including human body symbolism, materiality, memory and human agency, trade and interaction, and religion.

Christina T. Halperin is a visiting assistant professor in anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Katherine A. Faust is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of California, Riverside. Rhonda Taube is a doctoral candidate in visual arts at the University of California, San Diego. Aurore Giguet is division director of the Marjorie Barrick Museum at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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"A valuable guide to theory and possibilities in future figurine research."

"Promotes theoretical and interpretive diversity rather than a universalizing approach to a class of artifacts." "This book focuses on interpretation as the desired product of analysis." "This book is not meant to answer all questions or to resolve selected questions convincingly- and it does not." "Well fulfills a greater objective of parading a range of significant questions and approaches and thus should inspire more research."
--Journal of Anthropological Research vol. 66

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