Article : Depicting the mesoamerican spirit world


  • Frassani, Alessia


In this study I argue that modern ethnographic data can be used in the interpretation of ancient Mesoamerican art and pictography, in particular, beyond iconographic analysis. Ancient painted texts were read in a performative way, with recitation, enunciation, and context playing a fundamental role in conveying meaning. While normally pictography is approached as a provider of content information, the way meaning is encoded and decoded is also integral to pictorial language. In this essay, I attempt to trace durable forms of Mesoamerican religiosity by comparing ancient depictions, their colonial transformations, and modern Mazatec chants through the prism of the “religious specialist.” This figure embodies an ecstatic experience: a direct contact and communication with the divine, which requires a cognitive transformation materialized in words, texts, and pictures.

Références bibliographiques

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Olivier Jacquot (2024, 10 mars). Article : Depicting the mesoamerican spirit world. Amoxcalli. Consulté le 17 mai 2024, à l’adresse

Olivier Jacquot

Chargé de collections : manuscrits des fonds américains, Service des manuscrits ORientaux (SOR), département des Manuscrits (MSS), Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

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