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Obsidian Reflections: Symbolic Dimensions of Obsidian in Mesoamerica
edited by David M. Carballo and Marc Levine
University Press of Colorado, 2014
Cloth: 978-1-60732-300-6 | eISBN: 978-1-60732-301-3
Library of Congress Classification F1219.3.I4O26 2014
Dewey Decimal Classification 972.801

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
Departing from the political economy perspective taken by the vast majority of volumes devoted to Mesoamerican obsidian, Obsidian Reflections is an examination of obsidian's sociocultural dimensions—particularly in regard to Mesoamerican world view, religion, and belief systems.

Exploring the materiality of this volcanic glass rather than only its functionality, this book considers the interplay among people, obsidian, and meaning and how these relationships shaped patterns of procurement, exchange, and use. An international group of scholars hailing from Belize, France, Japan, Mexico, and the United States provides a variety of case studies from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. The authors draw on archaeological, iconographic, ethnographic, and ethnohistoric data to examine obsidian as a touchstone for cultural meaning, including references to sacrificial precepts, powerful deities, landscape, warfare, social relations, and fertility.


Obsidian Reflections underscores the necessity of understanding obsidian from within its cultural context—the perspective of the indigenous people of Mesoamerica. It will be of great interest to Mesoamericanists as well as students and scholars of lithic studies and material culture.


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