Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents: The Public Sculpture of El Tajín (Linda Schele Series in Maya and Pre-Columbian Studies)

By Rex Koontz

El Tajín, an historic Mesoamerican capital in Veracruz, Mexico, has lengthy been well known for its beautiful pyramids and ballcourts embellished with vast sculptural courses. but the city's singularity because the purely heart within the zone with any such wealth of sculpture and effective structure has hindered makes an attempt to put it extra firmly within the context of Mesoamerican heritage. In Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents, Rex Koontz undertakes the 1st broad remedy 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 basic 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 might were skilled by means of particular audiences. Koontz unearths that the iconography of El Tajín finds 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 turned the myriad city-states of the Early Postclassic period.

By reexamining the iconography of sculptures lengthy within the checklist, in addition to introducing very important new monuments and contexts, Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents in actual fact demonstrates El Tajín's various iconographic connections with different components of Mesoamerica, whereas additionally exploring its roots in an indigenous Gulf lowlands tradition whose outlines are just now rising. while, it starts to discover a mostly missed local inventive tradition of which Tajín is the crowning achievement.

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6b), yet during this example of the named ruler thirteen Rabbit. moreover, the host of individuals represented round thirteen Rabbit let us learn the courtly relatives created or solidified through the accession ceremonies. as well as a number of representations of thirteen Rabbit, the northern column comprises the main intricate illustration of formality visible at Tajín, with a solid of greater than dozen actors engaging in what i'm going to argue is a continuing narrative over the gap of 2 registers (Fig. four. 4b–c). Tuggle (1968) and Kampen (1972) reconstructed a lot of the imagery over those registers, and later Ladrón de Guevara (1999) was once capable of upload a number of very important information. simply because they introduce a number of the subject matters and contributors visible during the column narratives, those a Scaffolds and Sacrificial Stones Returning to the constitution of the Columns portico and the reconstruction of the imagery, the 3 columns have been aligned nearly north to south, dealing with southeastward in the direction of the small plaza and at last to the whole huge center (Fig. four. 1). The northernmost column, or correct column as one confronted the portico and the constitution of the Columns, has been known as the Column of thirteen Rabbit as a result a number of appearances of that determine during this column’s imagery (Fig. four. 4). As we are going to see, it's not purely in this column that representations of thirteen Rabbit occupy a significant place: the accession pointed out above because the principal occasion within the application is the accession of thirteen Rabbit, which seems at the primary column. This culminating occasion can be taken care of later; for the instant we are going to examine a very vital set of rites on the topic of the accession. seventy six lightning gods and feathered serpents b F i g ur e four . 6 . Accession imagery depicting displays of the baton and textile: a, north-central panel, South Ballcourt; b, scene on the apex of the crucial column, constitution of the Columns. Drawings by way of Daniela Koontz. registers function an excellent element of departure for reading this system. the higher check in of this two-register set depicts a procession of captives and their captors having a look towards a seated determine with hands crossed (Fig. four. 4b). The processing captives on both sides are proven with their hands upraised and their genitals uncovered, whereas their captors carry them by way of the hair within the Mesoamerican gesture of trap. numerous of the captives are linked to atlatl darts: one among them, his correct hand tied at the back of his again and his hair held from at the back of, increases 3 darts in his loose left hand. Bundles of burning wooden are heavily linked to of the captives. The surviving glyphs identify lots of the individuals, either captives and captors. the entire processing figures movement towards a lashed scaffold constitution containing a reclining sacrificed determine (Fig. four. 7). The valuable determine, instantly to the left of the scaffold, is seated with palms crossed. To the left is a determine named four Ax who proffers a string of beads and a package deal of feathers; either one of those gadgets are obvious in scenes of tribute or elite trade all through Mesoamerica.

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