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Andean OntologiesNew Archaeological Perspectives$
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María Cecilia Lozada

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056371

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056371.001.0001

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The Head as the Seat of the Soul

The Head as the Seat of the Soul

A Medium for Spiritual Reciprocity in the Early Andes

7 The Head as the Seat of the Soul
Andean Ontologies
María Cecilia Lozada
University Press of Florida

There are many visual representations spanning the different time periods of the ancient Andes, and corroborated by historic accounts, that point to man’s spiritual essence as residing in the head, and more specifically, head hair. These examples suggest that this power was transferable and maintained the spiritual reciprocity between men, and the earthly and supernatural realm. This presentation briefly discusses the human head and hair in Andean belief as a conduit for the flow of spiritual power as documented in the archaeological, ethnographic, and historic record. The data suggest that such movement of energy was fundamental to maintaining the equilibrium in life- a balance in social ties and relations, resources, political control, and supernatural interactions, as broadly conveyed in metaphor. In recognizing this concept, scholars may better interpret what is found in the archaeological record tied to this basic Andean principal.

Keywords:   seat of soul, spiritual reciprocity, supernatural realm, human head and hair, visual representation, metaphor

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