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Coyote drums and jaguar altars: Ontologies of the living and the artificial among the K’iche’ Maya

Zamora Corona, A; (2020) Coyote drums and jaguar altars: Ontologies of the living and the artificial among the K’iche’ Maya. Journal of Material Culture , 25 (3) pp. 324-347. 10.1177/1359183520907937. Green open access

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Abstract

For the current-day K’iche’ Maya of the Highland community of Momostenango, Guatemala, animals are conceived as having not human, but artificial souls: they are, in fact, objects that exist in the mountain dwellings of their gods. Conversely, artefacts like sacred altars are seen as being wild animals of the gods and ancestors, which can bring illness and death to people when not fed by ritual offerings. Based on this and other data that the author gathered during his recent ethnographic fieldwork among the K’iche’, in this article he explores the ontological paradoxes of living beings and artefacts among current-day Maya and other Mesoamerican peoples of the past to propose a version of perspectivism that incorporates the ideas of technology, asymmetry and material culture to the more horizontal and personhood-based model proposed for Amazon cultures by Viveiros de Castro in his article, ‘Cosmological deixis and Amerindian perspectivism’ (1998).

Type: Article
Title: Coyote drums and jaguar altars: Ontologies of the living and the artificial among the K’iche’ Maya
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1359183520907937
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/1359183520907937
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: Aztec, K’iche’ Maya, material culture, ontology, perspectivism
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10127014
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