cover of book

Flower Worlds: Religion, Aesthetics, and Ideology in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest
edited by Michael Mathiowetz and Andrew Turner
University of Arizona Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-0-8165-4232-1 | eISBN: 978-0-8165-4294-9 | Paper: 978-0-8165-4847-7
Library of Congress Classification E99.U85F55 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 978.0049745


The recognition of Flower Worlds is one of the most significant breakthroughs in the study of Indigenous spirituality in the Americas. These worlds are solar and floral spiritual domains that are widely shared among both pre-Hispanic and contemporary Native cultures in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. Flower Worldsis the first volume to bring together a diverse range of scholars to create a truly multidisciplinary understanding of Flower Worlds. During the last thirty years, archaeologists, art historians, ethnologists, Indigenous scholars, and linguists have emphasized the antiquity and geographical extent of similar Flower World beliefs among ethnic and linguistic groups in the New World.

Flower Worlds are not simply ethereal, otherworldly domains, but rather they are embodied in lived experience, activated, invoked, and materialized through ritual practices, expressed in verbal and visual metaphors, and embedded in the use of material objects and ritual spaces. This comprehensive book illuminates the origins of Flower Worlds as a key aspect of religions and histories among societies in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. It also explores the role of Flower Worlds in shaping ritual economies, politics, and cross-cultural interaction among Indigenous peoples.

Flower Worlds reaches into multisensory realms that extend back at least 2,500 years, offering many different disciplines, perspectives, and collaborations to understand these domains. Today, Flower Worlds are expressed in everyday work and lived experiences, embedded in sacred geographies, and ritually practiced both individually and in communities. This volume stresses the importance of contemporary perspectives and experiences by opening with living traditions before delving into the historical trajectories of Flower Worlds, creating a book that melds scientific and humanistic research and emphasizes Indigenous voices.

Contributors: Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos, James M. Córdova, Davide Domenici, Ángel González López, Kelley Hays-Gilpin, Michael D. Mathiowetz, Cameron L. McNeil, Felipe S. Molina, Johannes Neurath, John M. D. Pohl, Alan R. Sandstrom, David Delgado Shorter, Karl A. Taube, Andrew D. Turner, Lorena Vázquez Vallín, Dorothy Washburn

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