On the Lips of Others: Moteuczoma's Fame in Aztec Monuments and Rituals

On the Lips of Others: Moteuczoma's Fame in Aztec Monuments and Rituals

by Patrick Thomas Hajovsky

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Overview

On the Lips of Others: Moteuczoma's Fame in Aztec Monuments and Rituals by Patrick Thomas Hajovsky

Moteuczoma, the last king who ruled the Aztec Empire, was rarely seen or heard by his subjects, yet his presence was felt throughout the capital city of Tenochtitlan, where his deeds were recorded in hieroglyphic inscriptions on monuments and his command was expressed in highly refined ritual performances. What did Moteuczoma's "fame" mean in the Aztec world? How was it created and maintained? In this innovative study, Patrick Hajovsky investigates the king's inscribed and spoken name, showing how it distinguished his aura from those of his constituencies, especially other Aztec nobles, warriors, and merchants, who also vied for their own grandeur and fame. While Tenochtitlan reached its greatest size and complexity under Moteuczoma, the "Great Speaker" innovated upon fame by tying his very name to the Aztec royal office.

As Moteuczoma's fame transcends Aztec visual and oral culture, Hajovsky brings together a vast body of evidence, including Nahuatl language and poetry, indigenous pictorial manuscripts and written narratives, and archaeological and sculptural artifacts. The kaleidoscopic assortment of sources casts Moteuczoma as a divine king who, while inheriting the fame of past rulers, saw his own reputation become entwined with imperial politics, ideological narratives, and eternal gods. Hajovsky also reflects on posthumous narratives about Moteuczoma, which created a very different sense of his fame as a conquered subject. These contrasting aspects of fame offer important new insights into the politics of personhood and portraiture across Aztec and colonial-period sources.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781477307243
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 06/01/2015
Series: Recovering Languages and Literacies of the Americas
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Patrick Thomas Hajovsky is Assistant Professor of Art History at Southwestern University, where he serves as Chair of the Latin American Studies Program.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. The Two Moteuczomas

2. Fame and Transformation

3. The Royal Icon

4. Resonances of the Speech Glyph

5. Visibility and Invisibility of the Name Glyph

6. Absence and Presence of Body

7. The Chapultepec Portrait

8. Colonial Reflections on Aztec Portraiture

Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

What People are Saying About This

Eduardo de J. Douglas

"This book offers significant new insights into a key corpus of Aztec sculpture and, more important, into the Aztec cultural constructions and understandings of personhood, portraiture, and rulership, specifically through the artistic patronage and representations of Moteuczoma II, the last of the Aztec emperors. . . . Dr. Hajovsky’s scholarship is careful and rigorous, and it deftly balances detailed analysis of evidence, physical and textual, with interpretation and speculation."

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