Human Figuration and Fragmentation in Preclassic Mesoamerica | From Figurines to Sculpture


Julia Guernsey


In this book, Julia Guernsey examines the relationship between human figuration, fragmentation, bodily divisibility, personhood, and community in ancient Mesoamerica. Contending that representation of the human body in the pre-classic period gradually became a privileged act, she argues that human figuration as well as the fragmentation of both human representations and human bodies reveals ancient conceptualizations of personhood and the relationship of individual to the community. Considering ceramic figurines and stone sculpture together with archaeological data, Guernsey weaves together evidence and ideas drawn from art history, archaeology, and anthropology to construct a rich, cultural history of Mesoamerican practices of figuration and fragmentation. A methodologically innovative study, her book has ramifications for scholars working in Mesoamerica and, more generally, those interested in the significance of human representation.

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