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RÍO BEC GRAFFITI: A PRIVATE FORM OF ART

  • Julie Patrois (a1)
Abstract

This article focuses on graffiti recorded in the micro-region of Río Bec (a 10 × 10 km zone around Group B), an art form well-known but little studied to date. Incised in plastered supports (wall, benches, or doorjambs), graffiti is found on residences of all ranks. A meticulous recording method has enabled us to distinguish two classes: graffiti produced during a building's occupation and those executed post-abandonment. The former were probably made by the residence dwellers themselves, children and adults. Their productions, which can be considered authentic artistic creations, reflected their unequal technical capacities, talents, ages, and inspirations. The subject matter was personal; remarkable individuals or animals, or outstanding collective events as memorialized by individuals. These graffiti emerge as the principal form of individual expression (retrieved by the archaeologist) from Río Bec society. Once the buildings were abandoned and full of rubble, new graffitists (occasional visitors or squatters) decorated the still accessible portions of plastered walls and notably illustrated some specific topics, such as female imagery and fabulous entities perhaps drawn during specific ceremonies. In the region as a whole, where glyphic inscriptions are scarce, graffiti provide a privileged emic source for the understanding of Río Bec society.

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E-mail correspondence to: julie.patrois@gmail.com
References
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Ancient Mesoamerica
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