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Wyllie Presents Paper in Vienna, Austria
Cherra Wyllie, associate professor of art history in Hillyer College, presented a paper at the 54th International Congress of Americanists meetings, July 15-20, in Vienna, Austria.
Her presentation, Iconography and Visual Communication in Classic Period South-Central Veracruz: Issues and Methodologies for Deciphering Visual Symbolism and Narrative, was part of a symposium entitled "Classic Veracruz Rising," which examined continuity and change in the archaeological record of the Mexican Gulf Lowlands between the years 100 and 600 A.D.
The International Congress of Americanists (originally the Societe Americaine de France), was first held in Nancy, France, in 1875.
A millennium before the Spanish invasion, Veracruz artists produced a wealth of signs, symbols, and visual narratives augmented by a limited number of hieroglyphs. Segregated from 16th Century ethno-history, and with only tenuous connections to hieroglyphic decipherment, Wyllie re-examines the continuity versus disjunction debate, and its relevance for understanding intended meaning in Classic Veracruz iconography. Adapting Michael Coe’s prerequisite conditions for hieroglyphic decipherment, Wyllie develops a primer for evaluating the potential for, and restrictions to, extracting underlying meaning in ancient art. Applying this model to the art of south-central Veracruz (ca. 100-600 CE) iconography can be understood within limitations, and can potentially be enhanced by further regionally focused, interdisciplinary research.