• materialization;
  • craft production;
  • power;
  • ideology;
  • Nasca

In this chapter I argue that in preindustrial societies where resources were difficult to monopolize and physical coercion was not an option, ideology provided a significant source of social power. This avenue toward social power was especially important in the prehispanic Andes, and the establishment and negotiation of that power was often through ritual feasting involving politically charged crafts bearing the principal symbolic elements of an ideology. This “materialization” of ideology was particularly important to emerging elites in Nasca, an Early Intermediate Period (circa A.D. 1–750) society of the south coast of Peru. I summarize recent data and present findings from ongoing research in the Southern Nasca Region to support this argument. I suggest that through the control of the production of polychrome pottery—the principal material form of ideology in Nasca—and the distribution of this pottery in feasting at the ceremonial center Cahuachi, materialized ideology provided the crucial source of power for Early Nasca elites.