Dress and Regalia in Early Mesoamerica and Central America
Publication Year: 2014
Documenting the elaborate practices of costume, adornment, and body modification in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Oaxaca, the Soconusco region of southern Mesoamerica, the Gulf Coast Olmec region (Olman), and the Maya lowlands, this book demonstrates that adornment was used as a tool for communicating status, social relationships, power, gender, sexuality, behavior, and political, ritual, and religious identities. Despite considerable formal and technological variation in clothing and ornamentation, the early indigenous cultures of these regions shared numerous practices, attitudes, and aesthetic interests. Contributors address technological development, manufacturing materials and methods, nonfabric ornamentation, symbolic dimensions, representational strategies, and clothing as evidence of interregional sociopolitical exchange.
Focusing on an important period of cultural and artistic development through the lens of costuming and adornment, Wearing Culture will be of interest to scholars of pre-Hispanic and pre-Columbian studies.
Published by: University Press of Colorado
Title Page, Copyright
Download PDF (68.7 KB)
Download PDF (77.3 KB)
Download PDF (48.5 KB)
Download PDF (137.5 KB)
Costume, dress, outfit, jewelry, adornment, regalia, investiture—these words possibly conjure many and varied associations in the mind of the reader. But what was the significance of dressing and ornamenting people and objects, and of articles of regalia, for the peoples of precontact Meso- and Central America? ...
Download PDF (54.0 KB)
1. The Sitio Conte Cemetery in Ancient Panama
Download PDF (222.0 KB)
According to current archaeological thinking, Sitio Conte was a regional meeting place for residents of Gran Coclé that accommodated various activities (Cooke et al. 2000:154; Isaza Aizpurúa 2007:80–85; Haller 2008:185, 191).1 During the period CE 750–950 (Cooke et al. 2003),2 the cemetery at Sitio Conte...
2. Barely There but Still Transcendent
Download PDF (464.2 KB)
Early Nicoyans appear to have been barely adorned, sporting merely thongs, headdresses, maces, jewelry, and body art, but these were symbolically filled with messages of transcendence from this world to the next. Today early Nicoyan dress, regalia, and adornment...
3. Ties That Bind
Rosemary A. Joyce
Download PDF (169.9 KB)
Figurines from Honduras in the Playa de los Muertos style, mostly solid, all hand-modeled, depict a wealth of costume detail. In previous discussions, I have emphasized the ornamentation that makes the head and face of these figurines the focus of most of the available...
4. The Naked and the Ornamented
Jeffrey P. Blomster
Download PDF (418.6 KB)
The body and its adornment are critical in the performance and construction of gender, status, identity, and group affiliation. Bodies are produced through cultural practices, through patterns of action and interaction among social agents. The body tracks and...
5. Aspects of Dress and Ornamentation in Coastal Oaxaca’s Formative Period
Guy David Hepp and Ivy A. Rieger
Download PDF (392.5 KB)
Perishable remnants of ancient dress and ornamentation are frequently lost in Mesoamerican archaeological assemblages. Taking this reality as a point of departure, numerous authors (Joyce 1998, 2000, 2002; Kellogg 2005; Marcus 1998) have interpreted iconographic...
6. Dressed Ears as Comeliness and Godliness
John E. Clark and Arlene Colman
Download PDF (559.9 KB)
The most abundant information for the history of clothing and costuming in Mesoamerica comes from human figurines and sculptures. As apparent in other chapters in this volume, rare is the early figurine showing even a stitch of clothing, and nearly as infrequent...
7. Unsexed Images, Gender-Neutral Costume, and Gender-Ambiguous Costume in Formative Period Gulf Coast Cultures
Billie J. A. Follensbee
Download PDF (622.9 KB)
Over the past fifteen years, a good deal of my research has focused on isolating sexed, gendered, and age-related physical characteristics, clothing, and accoutrements in Formative period (1500 BCE– 250 CE) Gulf Coast imagery and material culture...
8. More Than Skin Deep
Katherine A. Faust
Download PDF (667.8 KB)
Although separated by time and space, the Formative Olmec and Postclassic Huastec cultures developed two of the major iconographic traditions in the Gulf Coast region of Mesoamerica. Notably, and of particular interest to this study, both of these cultures...
9. Making the Body Up and Over
Download PDF (442.0 KB)
By the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the Huastec people living in the northeastern Gulf Coast region of Mesoamerica were renowned for their rich and complex manner of modifying, clothing, and ornamenting their bodies (Sahagún 1959–61:10:185)...
Caitlin Earley and Julia Guernsey
Download PDF (366.2 KB)
Scholars of the Mesoamerican Late Preclassic period (300 BCE–250 CE) are familiar with framing bands, consistent sets of symbols that often seem ubiquitous on sculpture, architecture, and ceramics. From the stucco façades recently unearthed at El Mirador...
11. Wrapped in the Clothing of the Sacred
Whitney Lytle and F. Kent Reilly III
Download PDF (535.2 KB)
Following the theme of this volume on the transcendent power of costume and adornment, we contribute an examination of regalia as a tool for communication within the Olmec political sphere. Olmec rulers used works of art as forms of politico-religious display (Reilly 1995; Furst 1995)...
12. The Symbolic Vocabulary of Cloth and Garments in the San Bartolo Murals
Download PDF (723.9 KB)
The recently excavated murals of the Pinturas structure at the site of San Bartolo, Guatemala (ca. 100 BCE), have added substantial information about the early development of Maya cosmology and political ideology as well as the iconography through which...
13. Early Maya Dress and Adornment
Matthew G. Looper
Download PDF (253.3 KB)
Dress and body adornment are widely recognized as a richly meaningful aspect of contemporary Maya culture (Schevill 1997). However, the Precolumbian roots of this tradition are difficult to document. Given the poor conditions of preservation of perishables such as...
John W. Hoopes
Download PDF (180.1 KB)
“What did they look like?” is a question that captures the interest of scholars and the general public alike. “Why?” soon follows but is more difficult to answer. The authors in this volume address the oldest known archaeological evidence for how people...
Download PDF (120.3 KB)
Page Count: 544
Publication Year: 2014
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth