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Isabel, Laack. Aztec Pictorial Narratives: Visual Strategies to Activate Embodied Meaning and the Transformation of Identity in the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2
2020, In Narrative Cultures and the Aesthetics of Religion, Dirk Johannsen, Anja Kirsch andJens Kreinath (eds.). Brill
Added by: M. Jimena Clavel Vázquez and Andrés Hernández Villarreal

In this chapter, Laack analyzes a migration account visually depicted in the Mexican early colonial pictorial manuscript known as the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2. This pictographic map tells the story of a group of Aztecs leaving their primordial home, changing their social, cultural, and religious identity through migration and the passing of ordeals, and finally settling in the town of Cuauhtinchan. It is painted in the style of Aztec pictography, which used visual imagery to convey thoughts and meanings in contrast to alphabetical scripts using abstract signs for linguistic sounds. Drawing on the theories of embodied metaphors and embodied meaning by philosopher Mark L. Johnson and cognitive linguist George P. Lakoff, I argue that Aztec pictography offers efficient and effective means to communicate embodied metaphors on a visual level and evokes complex layers of embodied meaning. In doing so, I intend to change perspective on the narrative powers of religious stories by transcending textual patterns of analysis and theory building and opening up to non-linguistic modes of experience and their influence on narrative structures and strategies.

Comment (from this Blueprint): This paper analyses the embodied metaphors found in the pictorial manuscript Mapa de Cuauhtinchan no. 2 (the map of Cuauhtinchan number 2) based on the theory of embodied cognition proposed by Lakoff and Johnson. According to the latter, our concepts are grounded on embodied metaphors. Laack’s proposal is that Aztec pictographic manuscript exploits these kinds of concepts to enable the communication of non-propositional meaning. It is useful to read it accompanied by Newman, Sarah E.. Sensorial experiences in Mesoamerica

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