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p. 926. Wordplay, philosophy, sculpturelocked

  • Davíd Carrasco

Abstract

‘Wordplay, philosophy, sculpture’ explores the artistic achievements of the Aztec civilization. It can be hard to reconcile their sophisticated artistic prowess with their propensity for violence. However, delicate aphorisms, metaphors, and riddles were used to educate and inspire, adding imagery to speech and text. Aztec tlamatinime — the ‘knowers of things’ — used significant rhetorical skill to espouse moral standards. In particular they mastered difrasismo — the combination of two metaphors to form a third meaning. Aztecs believed sculptures contained living, divine beings. The Spanish were impressed by Aztec sculpture — before they destroyed it.

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