The ancient city of Teotihuacan, North America’s first metropolis, flourished for nearly eight centuries in central Mexico until its demise in 650 C.E. Known primarily for its massive architecture and monumental wall paintings, the city—and its dazzling artwork—inspired awe in its time, and continues to do so today. Made to Order, the first systematic study of more than 150 painted portable artworks produced in Teotihuacan, offers a unique, deeply informed perspective on the cultural practices and artistic techniques of the largest urban community in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica.
The painted vessels Cynthia Conides considers—featured here in finely reproduced full-color photographs—constitute nearly the entire body of material now available for analysis. With attention to their origins and provenance, wherever possible, the author views these objects from a range of vantage points, using ceramic chronologies to measure the changing characteristics and cultural significance of pictorial paintings on portable media. Her approach—ranging from stylistic analysis and narrative theory to theoretical perspectives on artistic exchange among artisans living and working in a thriving urban setting—reveals the importance of such objects to a city where social status, and the acquisition and display of its symbols, were paramount. This perspective is in turn grounded in new interpretations of the religious, social, and ritual contexts in which the objects functioned.
The most complete analysis of both ceramics from excavations at Teotihuacan and those held in museum collections worldwide, Made to Order will become a standard source for specialists and students of pre-Columbian visual culture and archaeology, and a vital resource for those interested in cross-cultural ceramic studies.