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Aztec Religion and Art of Writing

Investigating Embodied Meaning, Indigenous Semiotics, and the Nahua Sense of Reality

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Isabel Laack

In her groundbreaking investigation from the perspective of the aesthetics of religion, Isabel Laack explores the religion and art of writing of the pre-Hispanic Aztecs of Mexico. Inspired by postcolonial approaches, she reveals Eurocentric biases in academic representations of Aztec cosmovision, ontology, epistemology, ritual, aesthetics, and the writing system to provide a powerful interpretation of the Nahua sense of reality.

Laack transcends the concept of “sacred scripture” traditionally employed in religions studies in order to reconstruct the Indigenous semiotic theory and to reveal how Aztec pictography can express complex aspects of embodied meaning. Her study offers an innovative approach to nonphonographic semiotic systems, as created in many world cultures, and expands our understanding of human recorded visual communication.

This book will be essential reading for scholars and readers interested in the history of religions, Mesoamerican studies, and the ancient civilizations of the Americas.

'This excellent book, written with intellectual courage and critical self-awareness, is a brilliant, multilayered thought experiment into the images and stories that made up the Nahua sense of reality as woven into their sensational ritual performances and colorful symbolic writing system.'
Davíd Carrasco, Harvard University
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The Shroud at Court

History, Usages, Places and Images of a Dynastic Relic

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Edited by Paolo Cozzo, Andrea Merlotti and Andrea Nicolotti

The Shroud at the Court analyses, through various essays characterized by a multidisciplinary and diachronic perspective, the strict ties created between the Shroud and the Savoy court from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries. Presented as proof of the divine legitimacy of Savoy lineage, the Shroud (of which the Savoy dynasty came into possession in 1453, keeping it first in Chambéry and then from 1578 in Turin) was central to their propagandistic strategies. The court – its spaces, protagonists, and rituals – became the natural setting for a relationship reinforced over time through customs, ceremonies, and images intended to celebrate the excellence of the Savoy, both within their own state and in Europe’s “society of princes”.
Contributors are Paola Caretta, Paolo Cornaglia, Paolo Cozzo, Davide De Franco, Bernard Dompnier, Laura Gaffuri, Pierangelo Gentile, Luisella Giachino, Andrea Merlotti, Frédéric Meyer, Andrea Nicolotti, Almudena Pérez de Tudela, Laurent Ripart, Alessandro Serra and Franca Varallo.
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Margherita Palumbo