In Aztec society jade, tropical feathers, gold, and turquoise, were prized for reasons that involved competing notions of “moral economy,” according to Igor Kopytoff’s definition of the term. For the Aztecs, these materials and objects made from them were valued both for their inherent sacred powers in traditional ideology, and for their powers as objects of wealth and prestige in a rapidly growing commercial economy. A reexamination of Aztec myths and tales reveals the state’s official stance—that sacred powers took priority and that only members of the high nobility were prepared by birth and training to manipulate these powers. This, of course was a hard sell to other groups in Aztec society, and the official justifications, which are addressed to these others as well as the nobility, involve complex arguments, sometimes disingenuous, aimed at maintaining a type of status quo.
Thursday, October 26 at 4:00pm to 4:00pm
Art Building (ART)
2301 SAN JACINTO BLVD , Austin, Texas 78712