April 12, 2014  Élodie Dupey García, PhD, Fellow in Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks:
"Painting the Gods: Color and Body Ornamentation in Aztec Culture"

      The Aztecs did not conceive of color in the abstract. Rather they thought of color in terms of its material basis. This intimate relationship between color and its material manifestation determined the use and meanings of colors in this culture, especially in corporal decoration. Therefore, a great deal about the significance of colors and the logic behind the Aztec worldview can be learned from studying what materials were employed to adorn bodies. To demonstrate how the materiality of color added layered meanings to corporal decoration, the talk focused on representative cases of white, red and black materials used to decorate Aztec gods and the individuals related to them in both rites and myths.
            Élodie Dupey García is a doctor in the History of Religions from the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris (2010). She also completed a Master Degree in Mesoamerican Studies from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM, 2003). Her research focuses on the cultural history of pre-Columbian Mexico, especially on the topics of color and olfactory sensibility in Aztec culture. She is the author of several articles publishes in per-reviewed journals, and she had contributed to numerous collective books on history of color, and pre-Columbian worldview and art. Currently, she is writing a book on the materiality of color in Aztec culture during her fellowship in pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections.

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