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PCSNY April 12 Lecture – Andrew Finegold
April 12, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Metonymy in Mesoamerican Art
Assistant Professor of Visual Culture of the Ancient Americas
University of Illinois at Chicago
Late Classic Maya Codex-style plate from the Mirador Basin, northern Petén (Guatemala)
or southern Campeche (Mexico), ca. 680–750 CE. Slipped ceramic, diam. 32 cm (12 5/8 in.).
Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 1993.565. Photograph by Justin Kerr, K1892.
In ancient Mesoamerica, images often directly responded to the forms, materials, or functions of their supports, or otherwise implicated their physical and social situatedness. In pointing to their contexts, such images can be understood as indexical according to the system of signs developed by Charles Sanders Peirce, but the close relationship between an image and its material conditions can also be classified as metonymical. Metonymy refers to expressions of contiguity or association; it is an additive form of expression, arising from adjacency in the same way that meaning is created grammatically through the combination of sequential terms in a phrase. In the elaboration of existing grounds with imagery deemed appropriate to them—and especially in the construction of teixiptlameh as embodiments of numinous forces—Mesoamerican artists regularly pursued an additive, associative practice of image making. This talk will argue that metonymy was more than a particularly favored representational trope in Mesoamerica, and that its consistent deployment can be directly linked to the ontology of images within an indigenous worldview.
Monday, April 12, 2021
Hosted over Zoom
The Institute of Fine Arts–NYU