The Art of Urbanism explores how the royal courts of powerful Mesoamerican centers represented their kingdoms in architectural, iconographic, and cosmological terms. Through an investigation of the ecological contexts and environmental opportunities of urban centers, the contributors consider how ancient Mesoamerican cities defined themselves and reflected upon their physical—and metaphysical—place via their built environment. Themes in the volume include the ways in which a kingdom’s public monuments were fashioned to reflect geographic space, patron gods, and mythology, and how the Olmec, Maya, Mexica, Zapotecs, and others sought to center their world through architectural monuments and public art.
This collection of papers addresses how communities leveraged their environment and built upon their cultural and historical roots as well as the ways that the performance of calendrical rituals and other public events tied individuals and communities to both urban centers and hinterlands. Twenty-three scholars from archaeology, anthropology, art history, and religious studies contribute new data and new perspectives to the understanding of ancient Mesoamericans’ own view of their spectacular urban and ritual centers.