Pre-Columbian Society of Washington DC

The Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C. (PCSWDC), is an educational organization dedicated to furthering knowledge and understanding of the peoples of the Americas before the time of Columbus. Founded in 1993, the Society provides a forum for the exchange of information regarding these pre-Columbian cultures between academic professionals and interested members of the public.

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Fiery Mountains and Flaming Gods: Volcanoes in Ancient Mesoamerican Belief by Lucia R. Henderson, PhD 

This meeting will be held at the Charles Sumner School, 17th & M Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.

The meeting starts with refreshments at 6:45 pm and the lecture begins at 7:15 pm.

This talk explores the impact of volcanic landscapes on the art and religious beliefs of ancient Mesoamerican cultures. Capped with lightning storms, puffing smoke, and regularly erupting in fire and ash, volcanoes would have been viewed as some of the most dramatic and imposing inhabitants of the Pre-Columbian living landscape. More cataclysmic eruptions periodically destroyed regions, displaced populations, devastated agricultural production, and interrupted trade routes. This talk will discuss a broad swath of imagery related to volcanoes, from Central Mexico to the Tuxtla Mountains of Veracruz, through the Guatemalan highlands and South Coast, and into western El Salvador. We will explore the idea that these volcanic zones created interconnected ideologies, or “Communities of Landscape,” a phenomenon that was expressed through a remarkably consistent set of iconographic features that spanned vast geographies and lasted through the course of millennia.

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Lucia Henderson is a specialist in the early art of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and a trained archaeological illustrator. Lucia’s scholarly work encompasses wide-ranging subjects, including sculptural iconography, cave art, hydraulic systems, volcanoes, pilgrimage, Teotihuacan-style art, and the ideology and symbolism of emergent authority. Her published work covers two millennia, from the 8th century BC through the 16th century AD, and covers cultures as diverse as the Maya, the Aztecs, and the Hopi of the American Southwest. She has held fellowships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, and most recently worked as a Curatorial Consultant for the Dumbarton Oaks Museum. She is currently an independent scholar, living in Washington, D.C.

Earlier Event: June 1
Later Event: August 3

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