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Title:'And the Sun Sits in His Seat': Creating Social Order in Andean Culture
Author(s):McEwan, Colin
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kris Lehman
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Religion, General
Abstract:This thesis addresses the role that seats and seating rituals play in the creation of social order in Andean South America. It begins by tracing the lineaments of a widespread South American macro-tradition of seats and stools. This provides a background to the analysis of a corpus of Manteno (AD 800--1500) stone sculpture from coastal Ecuador that encompasses stone seats, stelae, and a range of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures. The site of Agua Blanca, Manabi is identified as the principal town among four settlements that once comprised the Manteno Senorio of Salangome. Three distinct but related patterns of radiality are evident in the settlement plan at Agua Blanca, and the complexes of public architecture are organized around principals of dual division, quadripartition and tripartition. These represent a specific local expression of more generalized Andean principles of social organization. The distribution of stone seats is recorded at Agua Blanca and some have been excavated in secure architectural contexts. Seats are also found together with stelae and a range of other sculpture at the contemporary hill-top ceremonial site of Cerro Jaboncillo. The stelae iconography breaks down into four principal themes: the 'Composite Being', the 'Displayed Female', the 'Standing Figure' and the 'Orb and Crescent'. The dynamic relationship between these groups reveals the significance of vertical connections between the subterranean, earthly and celestial realms. The alignment of key buildings with seats at Agua Blanca point to a strong ritual interest in the solstitial standstills, especially the December solstice sunrise which is the time of the critical dry to wet season transition. Coastal Ecuadorian cultures once formed part of a much more extensive Andean pattern of seating and coca chewing. Early ethnohistoric documents describe a range of formal seating rituals that played an integral role in forging and affirming social order in highland Andean culture. Together with the Manteno date, they show that the creation of earthly social and political order is timed to reflect cosmic order, and this is played out publicly in the most significant seasonal festivals and initiation rituals that took place at key times of transition in the agricultural calendar.
Issue Date:2003
Description:692 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3111619
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2003

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