This series features five online museum exhibits created by undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin for a class titled “Colonial Latin America Through Objects.” The class assumes that Latin America was never a continent onto itself. The course also insists that objects document the nature of historical change in ways written archives alone cannot.
Pauline Hodencq’s exhibit centers on corn in Aztec culture not only as source of calories but also as the foundation of the most revealing religious metaphors. For the Aztecs milpa corn dominated the agricultural cycle; it was even the source of children’s toys. More important, corn organized Aztec ways of relating to deities and understanding the body. Gods were corn growers and bodies were maize. Gods consumed bodies in the same way humans consumed corn.