1. bookVolume 21 (2021): Issue 1 (June 2021)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1339-7877
First Published
15 Jun 2014
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

A Monstrous Morality: Tzitzimime and their Relatives as Enforcers of Social Control

Published Online: 20 Nov 2021
Volume & Issue: Volume 21 (2021) - Issue 1 (June 2021)
Page range: 37 - 57
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1339-7877
First Published
15 Jun 2014
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

The tzitzimime – as reflected in central Mexican ethnohistorical sources and precolumbian imagery – represent a diverse array of mostly female divinities associated with fertility. Under Spanish influence, they were re-conceptualized as malevolent, mostly male agents of the Christian devil. Related beings attested elsewhere, especially in the ethnography of eastern Mesoamerica, are distinctly monstrous. They are particularly salient in “wild” contexts, outside the realm of culture, and serve as enforcers of social norms. This paper traces the development of these creatures from their quasi-monstrous tzitzimime forbears and considers how they have been – and continue to be – conceptualized in relation to sociopolitical differences in their cultural contexts.

Keywords

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