Pondering the Palma: Functional Analysis and Formal Typology in Classic Veracruz Art History



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This thesis significantly expands the corpus of portable sculptures known as the palma. The palma object-type has remained anomalous throughout the years despite being linked to the ballgame and other stone accoutrements of Classic Veracruz civilization. Classic Veracruz may be defined in time (c. 0- 1000 CE) and its region (the Gulf Coast of Mexico, largely in the modern state of Veracruz). Previous scholars defined the palmas through their consistent basal forms. The revised palma corpus developed in this thesis identifies many other formal, functional, and iconographic patterns unexplored by previous scholars. Part One presents historiographies and functional analyses, discussing the palma object-type and the urban center of Classic Veracruz culture, El Tajín, for the extensive sculptural programs that feature individuals wearing palmas with motifs and characters found on the extant palmas. Part Two presents revised typological explorations as well as a Catalog of Illustrated Typology and Palma Related Iconography.



Classic Veracruz, Palma, Yoke, Hacha, Palma, Proskouriakoff, El Tajín, Mesoamerican Art History, Pre-Columbian art, Art history, Mesoamerica, Ballgame, Mesoamerican Ballgame, Iconography