Accepted Paper:

From gourd-people to arrow-people: Wixarika ancestors in the making  
Johannes Neurath (Museo Nacional de Antropología)

Paper short abstract:

The identification of people and objects is an important aspect of Mesoamerican ritual and its transmission. Focussing on Wixarika gourd-cups and arrows, I'll analyse processes of transformation and conflicting modes of relationship.

Paper long abstract:

The identification between people and objects is an important aspect of Mesoamerican ritual and its transmission. In this paper I'll focus on Wixarika (Huichol) gourd-cups (xukurite) and arrows (+r+te), as well as on "gourd-cup-people" (xukuri'+kate) and "arrow-people" (+r+kate). Based on what might be called Wixarika recursive anthropology, I'll propose an analytical framework that avoids separating between concepts and practices, or between ritual agents, images and objects. Wixarika are born as xukurite. Practicing vision quest, sacrifice, and initiation, they eventually emerge from the gourd-cups, and become +r+kate, living ancestors. Both categories of object-persons are key to the maintenance of ceremonial centres that have been highly contested in the past. But the relation between gourds and arrows is always complicated. It is gendered, it expresses a contrast between exchange and free gift, and it implies a contested hierarchy, as well as conflicting discourses on ethnicity and engaging with non-Indigenous populations.

Panel P052
Artefacts and visual systems in Oceania and America