Thursday, October 29, 2015

Quotes from _The Flower and the Scorpion_ #47

"In figure 16 we see Tezcatlipoca decked out in all of his warrior gear. The figure connects the twenty-day signs with parts of the body of the black Tezcatlipoca. The image also relates the day signs to the magical and curative aspects of his body in its parts.  Tezcatlipoca here signifies aggressive warrior masculinity through his possession of many weapons (darts, clubs, arrows, knives) and through the signifiers of death: the skulls of humans and the heads of animals. He will fight off all enemies and defend the community. He also signifies phallic sexual prowess through his long loincloth.  Yet, emanating from his mouth we find two flower glyphs strung together gether with an element resembling a Nahua signifier of birth, the umbilical cord. These elements suggest that Tezcatlipoca, through his mouth, gives birth to sexual behaviors deemed excessive. Of course, the flower signifies more than excessive sex, and this image has traditionally been interpreted as showing Tezcatlipoca singing, a fact I do not dispute.  . . . Since Tezcatlipoca's tongue gave birth to the flower, his tongue and mouth signify fertility, perhaps through rituals designed to maintain the fertility of humans and the earth. The positioning of sexual excess in Tezcatlipoca's mouth signifies both his excessive nature, as discussed by Klein, and his link to the feminine.  In an image from the same text, Tlazolteotl gives birth to the same glyph (see figure 3, in chapter 2). She, however, gives birth from an umbilical cord between her legs. Tezcatlipoca cannot give birth in a similar manner, as his long, heavily decorated loincloth points out. His masculinity thus assured by the loincloth, Tezcatlipoca seemingly vomits up sex and fertility.  The mouth here signifies Tezcatlipoca's erotic orality, but, as we will see, the penetration of the mouth with sexual excess signifies feminine sexuality in preconquest and early colonial imagery. Tezcatlipoca remains after the production of this image a central figure in the Nahua pantheon, a powerful god who signifies a masculine ideal. Yet the position of the flowers emanating from the mouth suggests Tezcatlipoca's concurrent effeminacy (he gives birth, his sexual behavior is out of control), even as he maintains his masculine prowess through both warfare and the phallus."

No comments:

Post a Comment