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COMBINATION OF SIGNS IN THE CODICES OF CENTRAL MEXICO: EXAMPLES FROM SACRIFICE AND DISMEMBERMENT REPRESENTATIONS

Published: 30 July 2021

Abstract: The system of communication in use in central Mexico at the time of the Spanish Conquest was made up of signs composed largely of pictorial elements, including glyphs (signs in a script) and graphic representations of the ornaments of the deities. It had a generative character that was expressed mainly in the fact that it combined basic signs to create new meanings. This article deals with the combinations between the following signs: the smoking mirror, the flint, the down ball and the skull, all belonging to the field of sacrifice and dismemberment of the human body. They were associated with each other and created the following codified and conventional combinations: mirror-flint, mirror-down, flint-skull, flint-obsidian, skull-down, and a composite pectoral called anahuatl. This article proposes a typology of these combinations, and sheds light on their meanings and the processes of their construction.
Keywords: signs / central Mexico / mirror / skull / flint / SACRIFICE / REPRESENTATIONS / dismemberment

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