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State and Cosmos in the Art of Tenochtitlan

Richard Fraser Townsend

Dumbarton Oaks Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology Studies Series

Art History, Archaeology, Pre-Columbian Studies

Townsend offers an interpretation of major examples of Mexica monumental art by identifying three interrelated iconographic themes: the conception of the universe as a sacred structure, the correspondence of the social order and the territory of the nation with the cosmic structure, and the representation of Tenochtitlan as the historically legitimate successor to the civilization of the past.

“This concise, brilliant interpretation of the monumental art of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan provides an excellent introduction to the relation of political state and religious cosmos in Mesoamerican traditions. Focusing his art-historical methods on the formation of Tenochtitlan’s monumental ensemble, Townsend expertly reveals the intimate connection between historical consciousness and commemoration and cosmological structure and dynamics in Aztec architecture and ritual.” Religious Studies Review

Studies in Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology, Number 20


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