By Rex Koontz
El Tajín, an historical Mesoamerican capital in Veracruz, Mexico, has lengthy been widespread for its wonderful pyramids and ballcourts adorned with vast sculptural courses. but the city's singularity because the in basic terms middle within the zone with the sort of wealth of sculpture and nice 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 vast 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 basic ancient transformations.
Koontz specializes in 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 via particular audiences. Koontz unearths that the iconography of El Tajín unearths a lot approximately how motifs and elite rites turning out to be out of the vintage interval have been transmitted to later Mesoamerican peoples because the cultures established 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 vital new monuments and contexts, Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents essentially 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. even as, it starts off to discover a principally missed neighborhood creative tradition of which Tajín is the crowning achievement.
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Additional resources for Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents: The Public Sculpture of El Tajín (Linda Schele Series in Maya and Pre-Columbian Studies)
At the different aspect of this palma, a unmarried person is depicted frontally donning an tricky cape and retaining a baton, therefore without delay connecting the taking of a head and the wielding of a baton, as within the South Ballcourt series at Tajín. it's the presence of the cape at the palma determine that additional connects the scenes to a very telling Tajín series somewhere else. the one Tajín scene the place the baton and cape look jointly is within the Mound of the development Columns series (Fig. four. 6b), during which a determine with a cape and quechquemitl (a triangular garment often worn by means of adult females) stands among a human determine retaining a baton at the left and the relevant Tajín Deity at the correct. The deity holds a wide, smooth, oblong item. Given its pairing with the baton and its institutions with the imperative Tajín Deity, in addition to the gentle caliber of the The Divine Ballcourt sixty one material, this has to be a wide model of the material obvious in other places. i'll argue at size within the following bankruptcy that this scene is the end result of the Mound of the development Columns application and represents the accession of the caped determine, named thirteen Rabbit, to excessive political place of work. The facts for examining this scene as accession is advanced yet comprises transparent markers of such rites all through Mesoamerica, comparable to the donation of particular gadgets to people via consumer deities, sacrificial rites legitimating the lawsuits, particular scaffold rites used throughout the inauguration, and the proclamation of the hot ruler’s prowess at battle. If this argument is permitted, the organization of the material and baton with thirteen Rabbit means that the 2 goods are valuable trademarks of authority at Tajín. the mix of baton, cape, and decapitation sacrifice within the palma imagery will be one other instance of this nearby imagery of accession. most significantly for us, and closing in the bounds of Tajín iconography, the shut correspondences among the material and baton donation scenes within the Mound of the construction Columns and the South Ballcourt could strongly recommend that the ballcourt scene describes the most character’s accession to political workplace. whereas crucial to the argument for which means provided the following, firmly selecting depictions of accession or different ceremonies of basic political import isn't really glaring for Tajín. we don't have any texts from Tajín describing accession ceremonies, as we do for the Maya. Maya texts have been primary to the id of accession ceremonies in vintage Maya imagery, as have been identify glyphs and recognizable accession dates for the Aztec and Mixtec. Nor are there colonial files for Tajín with photos of the pomp surrounding the move of strength and the sincerely pointed out goods fascinated by these rites, as we have now for the Aztecs and others in past due Postclassic Mesoamerica. we haven't any burials that will qualify as these of rulers of the positioning, and therefore no archaeological files of attainable regalia. To deliver the rites portrayed at Tajín into larger concentration, we do have recourse to famous Mesoamerican similarities within the context and constitution of accession ceremonies (Stuart 2001).