The Natural History of the Soul in Ancient Mexico

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Overview

This illustrated book explores basic Precolumbian beliefs about the soul among ancient Meso-american peoples. It focuses on the Central mexican Aztecs - called the Mexica - who believed in multiple souls that animated the body, gave humans their shared and individual characteristics, and survived the body after death.

"Fascinating examination of Mexica thought and belief (ca. 1200-1519) regarding the soul, utilizing iconographic and ethnohistorical sources but also giving special consideration to the influence of natural environments on ideology. Cultural concepts of special note here include the Nahua yolia, ihiyotl, and tonalli. Author saves the nahualli for future study"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300062250
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1995
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.49 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 The Evolving Soul 1
2 The Mexica and Their Souls 10
3 The Yolia and the Soul 17
4 The Yolia as a Bird 23
5 The Winged Soul, Universality and Natural History 33
6 The Yolia as Breath 42
7 The Yolia as Shadowy Double 48
8 The Yolia as Stone 54
9 The Tonalli and Fire Drilling 63
10 The Tonalli as Sumptuary Art 71
11 The Tonalli as Name and Astrological Sign 76
12 The Tonalli and Physical Resemblance 88
13 The Tonalli, Body Temperature and Neonates 96
14 The Tonalli and Advice at Puberty 103
15 Soul Loss and Aging 109
16 The Tonalli and the Cold Body 118
17 The Tonalli as Body Part 125
18 Blood, Shock and Sacrifice 131
19 The Spirit, the Air and the Winds 138
20 The Aires as Spirits, Gods and the Returning Dead 143
21 The Glowing Ihiyotl, the Winds and the Aires 153
22 The Ignis Fatuus and the Ihiyotl 160
23 The Foul-Smelling Ihiyotl 167
Postscript 173
Notes 185
List of Abbreviations 191
Bibliography 193
Index 224
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