The work of surfaces: Object worlds and techniques of enhancement in the ancient Andes

  • Lau G
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Abstract

This study is an examination of techniques in the Recuay culture (1–700 AD) of ancient Peru. In addition to identifying things that look alike, it reviews different procedures by which they were made to resemble each other. The author examines shared techniques across different media and forms, which helped to shape a general noble aesthetic. Three main points are discussed: first, the techniques share a similar emphasis on enhancing surfaces by conceiving and applying the designs in terms of their negative space or adjacent background. Second, the different technical procedures constructed the exterior worlds of chiefs, their social and physical structures, by saturating special objects and settings with surface elements related to nobility. Finally, it is suggested that the techniques distinguished Recuay value systems from those of neighbouring groups and cultures.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Peru
  • embodiment
  • materiality
  • multi-media
  • pre-Columbian art
  • style
  • technology
  • value systems

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Authors

  • George F. Lau

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