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Wyllie Presents on 'Women Warriors of Classic Veracruz'
Cherra Wyllie, associate professor of art history and archaeology, Hillyer College, presented a paper at the 2012 American Society of Ethnohistory conference, which took place Nov. 7-10 in Springfield, Missouri.
Wyllie’s presentation on "Women Warriors of Classic Veracruz" was part of a panel on "Royal or High-Status Women in the Indigenous Americas."
Mesoamerican kings legitimized power through wars of accession and the taking of captives. They further reinforced their warrior status by engaging in statecraft rituals, figuratively and metaphorically linked to battle. In ancient Veracruz the ruling elite raised banners, identified themselves as ball players, and reenacted stories of creation. Recent scholarship increasingly shows us that women assumed positions of authority traditionally attributed to men. This extends to the role of warrior. In this presentation I examine the women warriors of Classic period Veracruz as depicted on architectural features, monumental sculpture, and portable art. Between C.E. 700–1000 Veracruz royal women were portrayed as queens, ball players, mothers, midwives, and deities. Ethnographic and ethno-historic accounts of powerful Mixe, Zoque, Huastec, Totonac, and Gulf Nahua women offer insights into traditional gender roles in the southern Gulf Lowlands.