By Rex Koontz
El Tajín, an historical Mesoamerican capital in Veracruz, Mexico, has lengthy been widespread for its gorgeous pyramids and ballcourts embellished with vast sculptural courses. but the city's singularity because the simply heart within the zone with the sort of wealth of sculpture and superb 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 wide 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 specializes in 3 significant architectural features—the Pyramid of the Niches/Central Plaza ensemble, the South Ballcourt, and the Mound of the construction Columns complex—and investigates the meanings in their sculpture and the way those meanings may were skilled by way of 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 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 list, in addition to introducing very important new monuments and contexts, Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents sincerely demonstrates El Tajín's quite a few iconographic connections with different parts of Mesoamerica, whereas additionally exploring its roots in an indigenous Gulf lowlands tradition whose outlines are just now rising. while, it starts off to discover a principally neglected local creative tradition of which Tajín is the crowning achievement.
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Additional info for Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents: The Public Sculpture of El Tajín (Linda Schele Series in Maya and Pre-Columbian Studies)
As a bejeweled, resplendent being, 7 Macaw was once initially a robust lord. He used to be defeated via the Twins, who took his jewels and changed them with maize dough, signaling the bird’s defeat. Guernsey (2006:150) has famous that this can be in lots of methods a outstanding alternate, for maize dough is frequently sacralized in Mesoamerican delusion and formality, while right here it's a signal of defeat, without delay against the purchase of (elite) finery. presently after this episode the Twins have been advised to not plant maize. The Tajín court docket ninety nine This energy alternate among the Twins and seven Macaw happens because the avian deity is shot, potentially alluding to the trap and harvest of macaw feathers. Guernsey (2006:151–152) is going directly to posit a invaluable feather alternate process through the past due Preclassic between contributors of a fowl deity cult within the Soconusco, highland Guatemala, and the south-central Gulf lowlands. we've got already noticeable a number of symptoms that feathers have been traded and rendered in tribute during the Gulf Coast lowlands in the course of the later Epiclassic. during this analyzing of the 7 Macaw tale, one functionality of the story can have been to supply a mythic constitution for the alternate of those beneficial feathers one of the elite, for whom the feathers have been a main marker of identification. The defeat of seven Macaw lead the way for the real sunlight, and this reference to the sunlight and sun warmth brings us to a different element of the connection among the macaw and elite energy. sunlight cults allowed for the general public show of the sun “heat” of the ruler or high-ranking personage. similar vintage Maya texts and photographs insist at the fiery nature of the ruler (Houston and Stuart 1996:295). there's a few proof that vintage Veracruz peoples additionally understood this courting, as indicated by means of a determine proven with a sun disk protecting his torso at Las Higueras (Sánchez Bonilla 1992:138; Morante López 2005:98–105; Wyllie 2008). demonstrate, in addition to exchange, used to be managed through elite experts who reworked this fabric into the headdresses and different featherwork so the most important to elite demonstrate. The nexus among feather acquisition, crafting, and show used to be so basic that during the past due Postclassic, all through critical Mexico and Oaxaca, a macaw used to be thought of the personification of seven Flower, the consumer deity of royal homes and craftspeople (Pohl 2001:97). The stream of hugely valued feathers all through japanese Mesoamerica and into the Gulf lowlands used to be a big part of elite long-distance alternate (Foias 2002). remember the presentation of feather bundles within the Tajín scaffold scene, in addition to in comparable scenes all through south-central Gulf lowlands ceramic imagery (Figs. four. 7, four. 8). comparable displays of feather alternate or tribute also are present in modern Maya imagery and constituted a key courtly ceremony judging from the varied representations a hundred lightning gods and feathered serpents (Stuart 1998:411; Houston 2000:173; ReentsBudet 2001:214). it really is hugely most probably that the vintage Veracruz macaw cult was once without delay linked to that recognized for the western Maya, given using scaffold sacrifices in the course of investiture ceremonies that still function the chicken deity in that region (Taube 1988).