The Lives of Things in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and Early Colonial New Spain

Sanja Savkić Šebek

Feather works in The Florentine Codex (General History of the Things of New Spain by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún), Vol. 2, Book IX, XVI century. Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Ms. Med. Palat. 219, f. 373r Su concessione del MiBAC. E’ vietata ogni ulteriore riproduzione con qualsiasi mezzo

This research project aims to explore the Americas’ past in terms of the migration of images, objects, commodities and texts, and with them the migration of ideas. It revolves around the term Bilderfahrzeuge, ‘image vehicles,’ coined by the German art historian Aby Warburg. The focus is placed on the cultural superarea dubbed Mesoamerica, especially when referred to its pre-Columbian history, and named New Spain in the XVI century when it became a part of the Spanish crown. Specifically, it covers a considerably long timeframe, from ca. 2000 BCE to the end of the XVI century CE, as this research favors a diachronic over a synchronic perspective. The intention of this study is to advance the disciplinary intersection of knowledge and questions about the particularities of indigenous visual cultures, and the new realities that arose both in the New and Old Worlds since the Conquest. Likewise, it seeks to reflect upon the effects of the generation of knowledge in the humanities and social sciences beyond this area, as well as to gain a better understanding of these cultures’ place within world art histories.


Our Newsletter provides you with free information on events, tenders, exhibitions and recent publications from the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz.

If you would like to receive our newsletter, please enter your name and e-mail address:

*required field

Notes on the content of the newsletter and transit procedures

This letter is sent via MailChimp, where your e-mail address and name will be saved for sending the newsletter.

Once you have completed the form, you will receive a "Double-Opt-In-E-Mail," in which you are asked to confirm your registration. You can cancel your subscription to the Newsletter at any time ("Opt-out"). You will find an unsubscribe link in every Newsletter and in the Double-Opt-in-E-Mail.

You will receive detailed information about transit procedures and your withdrawal options in our privacy policy.