The Flower and the Scorpion
Sexuality and Ritual in Early Nahua Culture
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Duke University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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About the Series
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Over the past years, I have noticed that my intellectual debts have grown far and wide. I was lucky enough to have James Lockhart introduce me to his incredible passion for the study of Nahuatl. Once I began research for this book, a series of individuals encouraged me with their suggestions, often providing...
Preface: The People, the Place, and the Time
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For the reader unfamiliar with Nahua scholarship, my use of the term ‘‘Nahua’’ may need explanation. First, the term prioritizes linguistic unity, referring simply to people who spoke the language Nahuatl. Second, the alternative term, ‘‘Aztec,’’ implies some sense of national identity and cohesion that did not...
1. The Bath
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A mid-sixteenth-century rendition of the Nahua temazcal, a steam bath (figure 1), depicts a relatively minor structure, but it signifies both the difficulties that Spaniards had understanding Nahua sexual activity and the ambiguities involved in writing about Nahua sexuality when the Nahuas did not have...
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In 1589, in the small town of Chihuatzinco on the outskirts of central Mexico, a Catholic priest, Bartolomé López, attempted to seduce the never-named wife of an indigenous commoner, Miguel Hernández. Six years later, Miguel, with the help of a notary, wrote a petition in Nahuatl to a local representative of...
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In his Spanish-language introduction to a discussion of Tlazolteotl, Bernardino de Sahagún states that she was ‘‘the goddess of carnal matters, who was called Tlazolteotl, otherwise Venus.’’ Further, ‘‘This goddess had three names: the one where she was called Tlazolteotl, which means goddess of carnality;...
4. The Warrior Goddess
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The tlazolli complex that so perplexed the friars emanated from a Nahua notion of common sense, a need to maintain and protect the community from the many dangers presented to it by the unknown—always thought to have the potential to cause catastrophe. Most important in this respect was the...
5. The Phallus and the Broom
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Tlazolli overwhelmed the senses in the massive ceremonies designed to make life continue in the city. One can imagine hundreds of thousands of people watching ceremonies in which merchants and warriors take captives in large groups up to the main pyramid, offering these captives to priests, who wield...
6. The Homosexual
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The cuiloni: the sodomite, the penetrated man, the homosexual, the passive, the third sex, the faggot, the queer. Cuiloyotl (or cuilonyotl): sodomy, homosexuality, the act without which the cuiloni could not exist.1 The term cuiloni reveals much about sexuality and the many homosexualities present in early...
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This chapter examines three tales of seduction that provide moral lessons for the Nahuas and for historians and theorists of sexuality. In the first, the Toltec leader, Huemac, in 994 CE seduces two women, but the seduction takes a wrong turn as he learns that the two women are the gods Tezcatlipoca and Yaotl....
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Using the concept of the black mirror to think about colonialism in Mexico, Pedro Lasch, in the art installation ‘‘Black Mirror/ Espejo Negro,’’ placed preconquest indigenous figures on pedestals; the figures faced panels of black translucent glass, behind which he hung reproductions of art by Spanish...
Appendix: The Chalca Woman’s Song
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Page Count: 384
Illustrations: 43 illustrations
Publication Year: 2011