Dr.Jill Leslie Furst, "Tlaloc: Connections between Mexico and the American
For the Aztecs, Mictlantecuhtli was the major skeletonized
deity who ruled over the cold, barren Underworld and who received the dead.
At the same time, Tlaloc and the little rain gods lived in the subterranean
realm of Tlalocan, where they guarded seeds and ensured the continuing
fertility of the earth. Traces of ancient Central Mexican beliefs are still
embedded in the ideology of the Hopi, who consider their Underworld spirit
to be the single figure of Masaw, the patron of the dead, and the keeper
of fire and seeds. This connection offers a new perspective on the funerary
customs of the Aztecs and the fate that they believed awaited men, women
and children who died in ways sent by the rain gods.
Jill Leslie Furst received her doctorate at the University
of New Mexico in Precolumbian Art. She is Professor of Art History at Moore
College of Art and Design and a Consulting Scholar in the American Section
of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology.
Dr. Furst is the author of numerous articles on the pre-Hispanic Mixtec and Aztecs. She is the author The Natural History of the Soul in Ancient Mexico (Yale University Press), which examines Aztec ideas about the human body and its multiple souls, and forthcoming Mojave Pottery/Mojave People (SAR Press). Dr. Furst is also the co-author of Pre-Columbian Art of Mexico (Abbeville) and North American Indian Art (Rizzoli). She is currently at work on a book of animal transformation in ancient Central Mexico.
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