Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents: The Public Sculpture by Rex Koontz

By Rex Koontz

El Tajín, an historical Mesoamerican capital in Veracruz, Mexico, has lengthy been renowned for its wonderful pyramids and ballcourts adorned with large sculptural courses. but the city's singularity because the purely heart within the sector with any such wealth of sculpture and tremendous structure has hindered makes an attempt to put it extra firmly within the context of Mesoamerican background. In Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents, Rex Koontz undertakes the 1st broad therapy of El Tajín's iconography in over thirty years, permitting us to view its imagery within the broader Mesoamerican context of emerging capitals and new elites in the course of a interval of primary ancient transformations.

Koontz makes a speciality of 3 significant architectural features—the Pyramid of the Niches/Central Plaza ensemble, the South Ballcourt, and the Mound of the development Columns complex—and investigates the meanings in their sculpture and the way those meanings could were skilled by way of particular audiences. Koontz unearths that the iconography of El Tajín unearths a lot approximately how motifs and elite rites transforming into out of the vintage interval have been transmitted to later Mesoamerican peoples because the cultures based on Teotihuacan and the Maya grew to become the myriad city-states of the Early Postclassic period.

By reexamining the iconography of sculptures lengthy within the checklist, in addition to introducing vital new monuments and contexts, Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents truly demonstrates El Tajín's a number of iconographic connections with different parts of Mesoamerica, whereas additionally exploring its roots in an indigenous Gulf lowlands tradition whose outlines are just now rising. whilst, it starts to discover a principally overlooked nearby creative tradition of which Tajín is the crowning fulfillment.

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Extra info for Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents: The Public Sculpture of El Tajín

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We do not have such a precise archaeological context for the Classic Veracruz example at Piedra Labrada, but it may be assumed that it too was raised or erected as a major ritual act. Recall that the Structure 4 Panel at Tajín contained just such a hole in the center of the piece, oriented to receive a standard (Figs. 7). In the illustration of the standard on this monument, the device seems to pierce the center of the bench in much the same way that a standard would pierce the panel itself. The hole in its center, as well as the illustration of what is probably the functioning base on its surface, strongly suggest that the panel served as a base for such a standard.

1991; Taube 1992a; Sugiyama 2000:135–137, 2005:222; Nicholson 2001; Ringle 2004:214–215). The Feathered Serpent cult seen at Teotihuacan eventually was appropriated by several groups of Mesoamerican elites. Scholars disagree on several aspects of the symbolism and the function of the cult in the appropriating communities, but it is becoming clear that once the cult was implanted in a particular area, the elite developed it to serve their own ends. In the Maya area, for example, particular Teotihuacano groups were associated with the spread of cult symbolism (Stuart 2000), while later Maya elites developed a specific variant of the cult for distinctly local and regional ends (Stone 1989).

Tezozómoc 1878, Cap. 19 From this Skull Place, water flowed to the crops that sustained the Mexica, who then settled in to farm and enjoy the fruits of their patron deity’s creation of an agriculturally productive landscape. This paradise was not meant to last, however. A group of Mexica called the 400 Southerners (Centzon Huitznahua) began to sow discord when they announced that Snake Mountain was the true ceremonial center and the final destination for the Mexica. Huitzilopochtli, angered at the hubris of this group, descended from Snake Mountain and sacrificed the 400 Southerners in the first war: “And Huitzilopochtli just then was born.

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