Theses Doctoral

Visualizing Divine Authority: An Iconography of Rulership on the Late Middle Horizon and Late Intermediate Period North Coast of Peru

Gannaway, Amanda

Before the mid-1980s Lambayeque style artifacts were often mislabeled in museums, private collections and catalogues as representative of the Chimú style. This “Chimuization” (Zevallos Quiñones 1971) of Lambayeque style objects was symptomatic of long-standing confusion between the two sets of material culture, which are now better defined thanks to ongoing archaeological projects in the north coast regions of Peru where the objects were produced. The semblance between these artistic traditions, which was responsible for their initial classificatory muddling, is often mentioned anecdotally in works concerning the late Middle Horizon and Late Intermediate Periods of Andean prehistory during which the styles flourished. The exact nature of the relationship between them, however, awaits a thorough, directed study. This dissertation aims to address this lacuna in pre-Columbian art historical scholarship by means of a comparative iconographic analysis focused on a specific type of figural imagery that was ubiquitous in each corpus and associated with institutions of divinely sanctioned rulership. The primary sample of images compiled and reviewed by this project is limited by medium to those found on ceramic vessels. Ultimately, however, iconographic representations and objects of ritual use in various media are positioned as different facets of the same overarching aesthetic concept, offering one possible model for interpreting the visualization of divine rulership in ancient cultures more generally.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Art History and Archaeology
Thesis Advisors
Pasztory, Esther
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 7, 2015