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      THE WIND GOD AND THE DESCENT OF THE TZITZIMITL: NEW INSIGHTS ON THE ICONOGRAPHY AND PROVENANCE OF THE MOSAIC-ENCRUSTED BIRD HEAD AT THE FRIEDENSTEIN PALACE, GOTHA, GERMANY

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      Ancient Mesoamerica
      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          Abstract

          The Friedenstein Palace in Gotha, Germany, holds a Late Postclassic Mesoamerican bird head sculpture made of wood encrusted with precious stone and shell mosaic. Although known since the nineteenth century, scholars have not given the artifact the attention it deserves. Based on observations made during a thorough in situ inspection, we provide a detailed description of the object, stressing both technological and aesthetic aspects, documented through new photos and reconstructive drawings prepared by Nicolas Latsanopoulos. Then, we offer an interpretation of the artifact's iconography, demonstrating it should be understood as a representation of the Wind God in its manifestation as a Tzitzimitl, a category of deities associated with creation and destruction; an aspect made evident in the small figure adorning the avian forehead. We finally reconstruct the collection history of the object, suggesting that the Giustiniani family, a prominent Roman noble family renowned for its collecting activities, once owned the sculpture; in turn, this proposal might imply that the Dominican friar Domingo de Betanzos brought the mosaic to Italy in 1532 and that it might be originally from the Puebla-Tlaxcala Valley or, more broadly, from the south-central area of the modern state of Puebla.

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          An Archaeology of the Senses: Perception and Cultural Expression in Ancient Mesoamerica

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            Crónica mexicana

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              CHEMICAL CHARACTERIZATION OF ANCIENT MESOAMERICAN 'COPAL' RESINS: PRELIMINARY RESULTS*

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Ancient Mesoamerica
                Ancient Mesoam
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0956-5361
                1469-1787
                May 21 2021
                : 1-26
                Article
                10.1017/S0956536120000504
                e6ff7fe0-5a6e-4f37-b8f6-e876db4a2e16
                © 2021

                Free to read

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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