Big lives writ small: Mesoamerican Figurines at the Snite Museum of Art
Figurines are a microcosm that detail the activities, behaviors, and norms of individuals often excluded from elite artworks. They provide us a glimpse into the daily lives of ancient peoples, such as an old woman from the site of Teotihuacan grinding corn to be used in the food that sustains her community, a Tlatilco woman from 900 BCE in her late stages of pregnancy as she prepares for her entire world to change, and countless other representations of individuals living robust lives. This symposium will address the importance of figurines in helping us better understand aspects of ancient peoples' lived experiences. This event brings together three experts who specialize in different cultural areas from around ancient Mesoamerica.
Schedule of Events
2:00–2:05 p.m. Jared Katz: Opening remarks
2:05–2:30 p.m. Annabeth Headrick: “The Bundled Ancestors Identified: Teotihuacán Figurines”
2:35–3:00 p.m. Claudia Garcia-Des Lauriers: “Ephemeral Narratives: Mesoamerican Figurines and the Possibility of Play”
3:00–3:10 p.m. 10-minute break
3:10–3:35 p.m. Michelle Rich: “Figuring it Out: Maya Figurines at the Snite Museum of Art”
3:35–4:00 p.m. Group discussion; Questions and Answers
4:00–4:30 p.m. Refreshments in the Museum Entrance Atrium (ground floor) following the symposium
Dr. Claudia Garcia-Des Lauriers is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Kellogg Honors College at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Her research focuses on the art, religion, and archaeology of Teotihuacán and the Pacific Coast of Chiapas and Teotihuacán external relations. Her recent publications include Teotihuacán and Early Classic Mesoamerica: Multi-Scalar Perspectives on Power, Identity, and Interregional Relations, co-edited with Tatsuya Murakami (University of Colorado Press, Boulder); Archaeology and Identity in the Pacific Coast and Highlands of Mesoamerica, co-edited with Michael Love (University of Utah Press); and a recent chapter entitled “Gods, Cacao, and Obsidian: Early Classic (250–650 CE) Interactions between Teotihuacán and the Southeastern Pacific Coast of Mesoamerica” in Teotihuacán: The World Beyond the City, edited by Kenneth Hirth, David Carballo, and Barbara Arroyo (Dumbarton Oaks). In addition, she continues her ongoing research as director of the Proyecto Arqueologico Los Horcones in Chiapas, Mexico.
Dr. Annabeth Headrick is Associate Professor of Art History and Director of the School of Art and Art History at the University of Denver. She received her M.A. and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in the art of Mesoamerica. Her early work focused on the massive city of Teotihuacán, resulting in her book, The Teotihuacán Trinity: The Sociopolitical Structure of an Ancient Mesoamerican City. This research led to her current interests in Chichen Itza, a Maya city that inherited many of Teotihuacán’s traditions and pushed an international agenda unlike any seen before in Mesoamerica. She is also interested in paradigms expressed throughout Mesoamerica geographically and temporally. Her research incorporates art, architecture, anthropology, and archaeology in a synthetic and comprehensive manner.
Dr. Jared Katz is the Associate Curator of the Americas and Africa and Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Notre Dame’s Snite Museum of Art. He comes to Notre Dame from the Denver Art Museum, where, as a Postdoctoral Fellow and then as a Consulting Curator, he helped with the design of the reinstalled Art of the Ancient Americas galleries; assisted with the exhibition ReVisión: Art in the Americas, and curated the exhibition Rhythm and Ritual: Music of the Ancient Americas. He has served as a Visiting Curator at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, where he designed the reinstalled Art of the Ancient Americas gallery. His publications include A Blustery Melody: An Analysis of the Classic Maya’s use of Music as a Mediatory Art Form. He is currently designing the galleries for the new Raclin Murphy Museum of Art.
Dr. Michelle Rich is the Ellen and Harry S. Parker III Assistant Curator of the Arts of the Americas at the Dallas Museum of Art. Rich joined the DMA after holding two Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellowships at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), where she curated Ancient Bodies: Archaeological Perspectives on Mesoamerican Figures in 2017, and the San Antonio Museum of Art. Since 2003, she has conducted archaeology with the US-Guatemalan Proyecto Arqueológico El Perú- Waka’ (PAW). She specializes in ancient Maya and Mesoamerican art and figurines, and ritual objects and architecture. Recent publications include the articles "Expanding the Canon: Lady K’abel the Ix Kaloomte’ and the Political Narratives of Classic Maya Queens," co-written with Navarro‐Farr, Kelly, and Pérez Robles, 2020; and "Statecraft in the City of the Centipede: Burials 39, 38, and Internal Alliance Building at El Perú- Waka’, Guatemala," co-written with Eppich, 2020. She is currently writing and editing a publication showcasing more than one hundred masterpieces of Indigenous art from the DMA’s ancient Americas collection, refreshing the DMA’s Arts of the Americas galleries, and curating their exhibition Spirit Lodge: Mississippian Art from Spiro.