Archaeology •  Latin America and Anthropology

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Blood and Beauty: Organized Violence in the Art and Archaeology of Mesoamerica and Central America

Edited by Heather Orr
Edited by Rex Koontz

Warfare, ritual human sacrifice, and the rubber ballgame have been the traditional categories through which scholars have examined organized violence in the artistic and material records of ancient Mesoamerica and Central America. This volume expands those traditional categories to include such concerns as gladiatorial-like boxing combats, investiture rites, trophy-head taking and display, dark shamanism, and the subjective pain inherent in acts of violence. Each author examines organized violence as a set of practices grounded in cultural understandings, even when the violence threatens the limits of those understandings. The authors scrutinize the representation of, and relationships between, different types of organized violence, as well as the implications of those activities, which can include the unexpected, such as violence as a means of determining and curing illness, and the use of violence in negotiation strategies.


Heather Orr is professor of art history at Western State College of Colorado.

Rex Koontz teaches art history at the University of Houston.

Published By The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press

6 x 9 in. 400 pages 145 black-and-white illustrations