THE FOLD LINE. AN ESSAY IN MESOAMERICAN COSMOLOGY

Pedro Pitarch About the author

Abstract

This article proposes the figure of the fold as a crucial concept to understand the cosmology of the Mesoamerican indigenous area. The fold is the mode of relationship between the two sides or states of the cosmos: the solar state inhabited by humans and the virtual state of the spirits. The figure of the fold refers to the textile fabric, which represents a basic model of invention and transformation in Mesoamerican cultures, from the beginnings of textile art some 3000 years ago to present time. The alternation between one side and another of the cosmos equals the difference between the obverse (clear, discontinuous) and the reverse (blurred, continuous) of an indigenous woven piece. The article examines certain classic themes of Mesoamerican anthropology in the light of this folding operation: the individual birth, the manipulations on the fabric, the folds of the body, the sacred bundles or wrappings, the shape of time, the image and the mirror, the nature of the market.

Key words:
Mesoamerica; cosmology; fold; textile; sacred bundles; mirror

Programa de Pós-Graduação em Antropologia Social - PPGAS-Museu Nacional, da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro - UFRJ Quinta da Boa Vista s/n - São Cristóvão, 20940-040 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel.: +55 21 2568-9642, Fax: +55 21 2254-6695 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
E-mail: revistamanappgas@gmail.com