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Blood and Chocolate

Cacao and Human Sacrifice in Pacific Guatemala

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 |
6:00PM - 7:30PM ET

This is a virtual event.
Three posts and a pitcher for cacao from Guatemala.


Virtual Event - Penn Museum


Cacao was one of the most important cultigens in ancient Mesoamerica. Cacao seeds were extensively traded and circulated as a medium of exchange, in addition to being consumed in a variety of preparations that were considered delicacies and widely employed in religious rituals. This important crop acquired important religious and ritual connotations, including an association with human sacrifice.

In this virtual talk, Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos will discuss representations of cacao in ceramics and sculptures from the Pacific coast of Guatemala, a major cacao-producing region. These representations offer clues about the symbolic relationship of cacao with human sacrifice from the Classic to colonial periods.

Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos (Ph.D. Vanderbilt University) is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Yale University, and formerly professor at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala and curator of the Museo Popol Vuh. His research interests include Mesoamerican religion, art, and writing; the study of ancient urbanism and social complexity with special focus on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala; and the history of archaeology in Guatemala. In 2011, he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on Cotzumalhuapa art and archaeology. His books, Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya (2017) and Imágenes de la Mitología Maya (2011), offer innovative views and methodological breakthroughs in the study of ancient Maya religion and art. He is the author of Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions (2017), Cotzumalguapa, la Ciudad Arqueológica: El Baúl-Bilbao-El Castillo (2012), editor of Arqueología Subacuática: Amatitlán, Atitlán (2011), and coeditor of The Decipherment of Ancient Maya Writing (2001), and The Technology of Maya Civilization: Political Economy and Beyond in Lithic Studies (2011).

$5 Adult | Free with PennCard

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