Marcelo, a graphic designer in his late thirties when I first met him in 2005, is one of the founders of the Calpulli Macoyolotzin, a group of residents from San Miguel Coatlinchan who are interested in their town’s pre-Hispanic heritage. A few years earlier he had come across a facsimile of Coatlinchan’s oldest cartographic representation displayed in a bookstore window: a sixteenth-century painted manuscript known as the Mapa de Coatlinchan (also spelled Coatlichan) (fig. 1). He later described his find to me as oro molido (powdered gold), a metaphor that anticipated the ways in which the document has been activated by the Calpulli as a kind of treasure map.1 Using its own research methodologies, the group has repurposed the colonial document to explore the town’s territory, uncovering and reinstating hidden forms of knowledge and value...
The Pre-Hispanic in Landscape: Ethnography with the Mapa de Coatlinchan
Sandra Rozental is associate professor in the Humanities and Social Sciences Division of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Cuajimalpa. She researches national patrimony, cultural property, and claims generated by the extraction of archaeological objects from local contexts and other state-making enterprises. She has collaborated with several artists, such as Eduardo Abaroa, and codirected The Absent Stone (2013).
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Sandra Rozental; The Pre-Hispanic in Landscape: Ethnography with the Mapa de Coatlinchan. Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture 18 December 2020; 2 (4): 91–96. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/lavc.2020.2.4.91
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