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SPIRALS, ROPES, AND FEATHERS

SPIRALS, ROPES, AND FEATHERS Rubber had important utilitarian, symbolic, and ritual roles in ancient Mesoamerica. Among the latter is the use of rubber balls as burnt offerings. This paper examines characteristic iconographic manifestations of rubber-ball offerings in Mesoamerican art. One of these, the spiral, seen in the Postclassic Maya codices, is shown to have had greater temporal and geographic distribution than previously thought. Another is the Standard Rubber Offering, a widespread motif in Mesoamerican art that links rubber balls to feathers and rope bindings. In considering why rubber balls were shown bound in rope, the paper examines the physical properties of natural rubber. Understanding the iconographic nuances of rubber balls as ritual offerings sheds new light on the symbolism of rubber balls in ballgame scenes and allows identification of certain images as rubber balls that were previously unrecognized. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ancient Mesoamerica Cambridge University Press

SPIRALS, ROPES, AND FEATHERS

Ancient Mesoamerica , Volume 13 (1): 19 – Aug 14, 2002

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References (71)

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Copyright
© 2002 Cambridge University Press
ISSN
1469-1787
eISSN
0956-5361
DOI
10.1017/S0956536102131026
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Rubber had important utilitarian, symbolic, and ritual roles in ancient Mesoamerica. Among the latter is the use of rubber balls as burnt offerings. This paper examines characteristic iconographic manifestations of rubber-ball offerings in Mesoamerican art. One of these, the spiral, seen in the Postclassic Maya codices, is shown to have had greater temporal and geographic distribution than previously thought. Another is the Standard Rubber Offering, a widespread motif in Mesoamerican art that links rubber balls to feathers and rope bindings. In considering why rubber balls were shown bound in rope, the paper examines the physical properties of natural rubber. Understanding the iconographic nuances of rubber balls as ritual offerings sheds new light on the symbolism of rubber balls in ballgame scenes and allows identification of certain images as rubber balls that were previously unrecognized.

Journal

Ancient MesoamericaCambridge University Press

Published: Aug 14, 2002

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