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An Excursion to Cities of Mysterious Pasts

Diane Platt

Contents of Curriculum Unit 94.03.06:

To Guide Entry


In developing this unit I remembered my experience as a rather uninterested student of social studies. What began to make history come alive for me was the study of art. I felt an immediate connection, as I began to explore the process of making my own sculptures in plaster and bronze, to the works of artists from all over the world. A college anthropology course introduced me to a broader view of the life of the creators of these images. So the idea for this unit is to provide an atmosphere where my art students (seventh and eighth grades) could examine an unfamiliar culture while creating their own images.

This unit seeks to examine two cities as an excursion in my art room. We will travel to Mexico, specifically a visit to Mexico City, present day, and then proceed towards one of the most mysterious ancient cities of the entire New World, Teotihuacan. My thought is to build the excitement of studying another culture by travelling there. So rather than a unit focused on historical background, I will try to weave the facts into the text as we move from place to place using our excursion as a starting point for the art activities I will initiate in the classroom setting.

In previous units I have developed, (America’s Urban Landscape and Our Images Make History), I examined how the artists portray their cities and how the art of mural making (Diego Rivera W.P.A. / Contemporary Muralists) became popular in the United States. Seeking to expand the idea of city and having just briefly introduced Mexico to my students, I thought it was appropriate to return to its capital Mexico City and discover its rich history through its links to a much more distant past.

The well known British sculptor Henry Moore spent a great deal of his life as a teacher and I find his comment to reveal one of the broad objectives this unit seeks to create:

“The most striking quality common to all primitive art is its intense vitality. It is something made by people with a direct and immediate response to life. Sculpture and painting for them was not an activity of calculation or academism, but a channel for expressing powerful beliefs, hopes and fears . . . But apart from its own enduring value, a knowledge of it conditions a fuller and truer appreciation of the later developments of the so-called great periods, and shows art to be a universal continuous activity with no separation between past and present.”

Anthropologists have given much of their study to so-called “primitive” cultures. The word “primitive” connotes simple or technologically backward and is no longer used as an appropriate word to describe the cultures of peoples of the past. In exposing my students to ancient cultures I consciously avoid any reference of “primitive”. The implication, is also that our culture then becomes advanced or civilized in comparison. Anthropologists currently study humans, not just some of long ago, but all humanity. When I was in college and studied anthropology my professor focused on past studies as well as the recent work being carried out in the field of “urban anthropology”. At various points in this unit we will be examining the products of archaeologists and anthropologists efforts shedding light on the life of contemporary Mexican life.

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Section One: Our Visit to Mexico City

I was going to begin with the traditional history and background of Mexico City but instead the approach with my students will be to plan an actual trip.

Actually as I am writing this unit I have never been to Mexico City or Mexico and I am planning this unit as a trip for myself as well!

Activity No. 1—Planning our Trip

As a class let’s begin our visit to Mexico City.

How will we get there? Plane? Car? Bus?

Maybe we need to look at a map and decide how long a trip it will be.

How long will we visit?

Do we need special money? Pesos? How many pesos equal one dollar? What can we see there?

1. Have the students use the encyclopedia sources on the computer or in the library to research the historic sites and history of Mexico City. They can make notes of what they find to be the most interesting for their visit. Bring in travel books and use the school system’s video center to inquire about related materials. The Bibliography at the end of this unit is * to indicate student references.
2. Make a large map of the city to mark the places they would especially like to see. Ask other faculty members if they may have visited Mexico City to share their experiences.

Some brief facts:

Where is Mexico City?

Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, is situated in a valley 7800 ft. above sea level(the highest city in the world) surrounded by volcanoes and high peaks. Mexico City’s metropolitan area is the largest in the world at approximately 15 million people. In 1985 a huge earthquake, registering 8 on the Richter scale, killed thousands of people and flattened whole districts of the city. However, it is still the political and economic center of the country and many people from the countryside continue to migrate to the city in search of a productive life. How was Mexico City established? The historic center of the city covers the site of the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, on whose ruins the colonial city was built, in part with the very stones razed from the pyramids. Although no longer the administrative or residential base of the city, as it was during the 300 years of Spanish rule, it remains the historical heart.

Activity No. 2—Trip to Mexico City

Having accomplished the above planning the following will be our simulated excursion to Mexico City!

Teachers note:

The slides in the text provide the foundation of Activity No. 2 exposing the students to art and architecture of the city before we actually begin any hands-on art projects. The slides will be further annotated in the Slide Reference at the end of this unit. These visuals could be shown in a Social Studies class or Spanish language class working together with the Art class to develop an integrated approach to the study of Mexico. We have been advised to ask for a window seat on the left side when flying into Mexico City. This proved true as we got a marvelous view across the city as the aircraft took a flightpath down the the west side, before turning and banking across the south of the city to land in the east. Our flight on American Airlines from New York arrived finally at our first destination, the international airport, Benito Juarez, 6.5 km east of the city. Our guide book told us the easiest way to the city was by taxi so we took one straight to our hotel, anxious to unload our suitcases and begin our adventure.

We decided to go to the heart of the city, the historic square of Zocalo, where the Aztecs had founded their ceremonial centre in the 14th century. Taking the Metro, subway, we were amazed at the quiet movement as compared to the idea of subway we experience in New York! The wheels were made of rubber and there were both pictures and words labelling each stop. The pictures reflected parts of the ancient history of the city in the form of jaguars and other symbols. We learned that because of the installation of the subway many excavations (see Slide # 1) were possible with archaeologists and anthropologists working together with the construction crews. They often met with problems of redesign as they uncovered ruins and artifacts of the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Facing the east side of the square we found the National Palace. It was here that we were able to view Diego Rivera’s monumental murals. On the first floor we were particularly interested to see “The Great City of Tenochtitlan” (Slide # 2 ) which Rivera painted in 1945. We were not disappointed as we viewed this incredible history from pre-Hispanic times up through the modern. Having researched the history of mural making and painted a few murals ourselves we were impressed to be in the presence of one of Rivera’s most famous works. The mural showed us that we were standing on what was once an island, in a sacred precinct of what was once the hub of Aztec life, and later Colonial life. In modern times the ancient water works have vanished under one of the world’s largest urban centers (Slide #3 ).

Our guide shared some comments on the ancient city of Tenochtitlan:

The ruins of Tenochtitlan lie today like some deeply buried mysterious heart under modern Mexico City. There in the depths of the lagoon sleeps the sacred city with its canals and bridges, palaces and markets, places of worship and terraces. The great city of Tenochtitlan was the capital established by the Aztecs.

A portion of an Aztec poem I have adapted gives further insight into the splendor of ancient Tenochtitlan:

The city spirals out.
Radiating in circles of green jade,
and splendid light,
such plumes of paradise quetzal
are Mexico.
At the edge of the city
the boats leave and return:
the warriors.
. . . Palace of white willows,
palace of white reeds
is Mexico.
We proceeded to the northeast corner to the site of the Aztec Templo Mayor or Teocalli. Inside the museum we examined a huge model of Tenochtitlan as it was 500 years ago ( Slide # 4). Representing the traditional division of the original temple, the museum is divided into two sections. Half was dedicated to the Sun God, Huitzilopochtli, and half to Tlaloc, ( Slide # 5 ) the Rain God. The Templo Mayor precinct was the heart of the city.

We decided for the next day of our journey to investigate the northern part of the city, Tlatelolco.and visit the Plaza of the Three Cultures. Originally a separate city-state, Tlatelolco merged with and became the commercial center of Tenochtitlan ( Slide # 6). It was here that the last battle of the Spanish conquest was fought. On August 13, 1521, Montezuma’s nephew and successor surrendered to Cortes. Although the Spaniards had been awed by their first look at Tenochtitlan, on November 7, 1519, upon its conquest the Spanish razed the entire assemblage of “pagan” buildings and built their city upon its ruins. Many of the buildings we visited earlier had been constructed with stones, many sculptured, from the demolished Tenochtitlan.

As we walked through the pathways within the Plaza of the Three Cultures (Slides # 7-8) we were struck by the contrast of the ancient ruins of the Aztecs with the looming Colonial Church of Santiago rising surrounded by the skyscrapers of modern Mexico City. We learned that as the Metro was being built more and more pre-Hispanic artifacts were discovered here. New temples were built over old to expand ritual practices or simply to aggrandize new rulers. Currently excavations are down to the fourth of seven layers. Today, the main archaeological excavations concentrate on the this site. A marble tablet at the site reads, “Tlatelolco . . . fell to the power of Hernan Cortes. This was neither a triumph nor a defeat, but the painful birth of a mixed race that is the Mexico of today.”

Next we decided to go to visit the main park of Mexico City, Chapultepec (Slide # 9 ), have lunch there and go on to explore the Museum of Anthropology. Here we hoped to examine individual artifacts and their relationship to what we had been learning of the history of Mexico City.

As we approached the museum entrance we were greeted by a gigantic stone monolithic statue carved by Teotihuacanos (Slide # 10 ) dating between 400 and 600 AD. Our guide described the figure as a giant figure of Tlaloc, the rain god. The guide told us the amazing story of how this several ton sculpture was brought to the museum. For several thousand years Tlaloc had been lying horizontally in his original quarry near Texcoco, possible because he was so big that his creators could not uproot him. When the National Museum was being completed in 1964, Mexican designers thought it would be appropriate to move the rain god from his stone bed to his present post at the portal. Tlaloc was excavated from the quarry and hoisted onto a special truck with hundreds of rubber wheels (Slide # 11 ) over the alarmed protests of local villagers. Many believed that were Tlaloc moved, the rains would cease. He arrived in Mexico City and thousands turned out to greet his arrival—in a torrential downpour, though it was not the wet season. Each time Tlaloc was moved during the installation, the rains poured!

This first day we learned that the museum covered 3,500 years of Mexico’s history. We were quite unprepared for the incredibly extensive collection and decided that since the museum was fairly close to our hotel that it would be a place we had to visit several times during our stay. We decided to visit Rooms IV and V covering the Teotihuacan 700 year period in preparation for our trip the following day. Here we gained a glimpse of the treasures once housed at the site we were to reach tomorrow.

Activity No. 3

To tour the collection of Teotihuacan art at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, giving the students an experience of examining the artifacts firsthand and simulating an experience of visiting the Museum of Anthropology. Procedure:

Call ahead to the Education Department at the Gallery and make an appointment to bring your students. The Gallery will provide a docent experienced in talking to students about the collection.

Listing of Objects:

1. Teotihuacan Figurines—Early Classic, A.D.150-500. (Slide # 12 )
3 terracotta figurines and 2 green stone figurines.

These lively figurines will give the students an idea of how the people of this area looked. Because Teotihuacan figurines are found primarily in residential areas and not in the contexts of great temples or burials suggests that they played an important role in daily household rituals at the apartment compounds. (Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 222) Similar figurines are to be found at the Peabody Museum as well.

2. Teotihuacan Tripod Vessels—Early Classic, A.D. 400-500.
1 terracotta with cinnabar

Cinnabar: a red mineral pigment frequently used at Teotihuacan. It must have been a precious commodity for it had to be extracted from mines (Queretaro) some 120 miles away. (Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 250)

Item description:

On this pot a Teotihuacan warrior appears 3 times, grasping a bundle of spears. He has adopted the goggle eyes of Tlaloc, the rain god, and he wears the owl headress of the spiderwoman deity; this costume endows him with mystical power. Before him, triangular cactus spines pierce a grass mat. He prepares to use the spines to sacrifice some of his blood to the gods. The pot’s shiny black surface was created when oxygen was cut off during firing. The textured background has been rubbed with cinnabar, and traces of this precious red element remain.

1 stuccoed terracotta

The bright colors and outlining have been likened to mural painting which for the Teotihuacan complex has been one of the most interesting sources of study.

Item description:

Three distinct iconographic elements—a rain deity, a round mirror, and 3 mountains rising from waves—form a scene that repeats. The head of a deity or attendant appears in profile with an elaborate headdress, and a scroll, symbolizing speech or song, pours from his lips. The round mirror with its ring of plumage is an instrument for augury. The Teotihuacanos saw divine messages in polished obsidian or the reflective surfaces of water-filled vessels. The mountain and wave motifs encapsulate the Teotihuacan understanding of life. Water, the gift of rain deities, brings life, symbolized by flourishing morning-glory vines that sprout from mountaintops. The Teotihuacanos attributed the miracle and prosperity of their own lives to the sacred and majestic mountains which framed their city.

3. Teotihuacan Masks—Early Classic, A.D. 200-500.

2 calcite onyx marble

More masks survive from Teotihuacan than from any other Mesoamerican culture. While stone masks are usually associated with death or the afterlife, they seemed to come from major temples of the state near the Street of the Dead instead of burial areas. Much of Teotihuacan culture remains a mystery and is the subject of much speculation.

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Section Two: Our Visit to “The City of the Gods” Teotihuacan

As we prepared for our tour of Teotihuacan (pronounced tay-oh-tee-wah-KAHN) we looked over some of the notes we had taken from our classroom research and our visit to the Museum of Anthropology.

Teotihuacan’s name—the place where men become gods expresses the reverence the Aztecs attributed to this abandoned, partially ruined ancient city centuries after its habitation.

Some brief facts:
The first settlement at Teotihuacan can be dated ca. A.D. 30-150 B.C. based on the carbon 14 date of charcoal found in the interior of an early mound. The city was formed in an expanse of about nine square miles located in the eastern pocket of the Valley of Mexico. It suddenly met its end around 700 AD. How such a large city, the largest of ancient Mesoamerica, emerged and why it was burned down by unknown invaders bringing the end to an incredibly rich and flourishing period in Mesoamerican history, are questions which have fueled many studies and yielded very few definitive answers. Through the efforts of many we have a substantial amount of information which forms a rich beginning of the study of the culture of these early urbanites. It is estimated that at the time of its height Teotihuacan housed 125,000 to 200,000 inhabitants, making it the sixth largest city in the world at AD 600.

We decided to begin our trip to Teotihuacan early in the day as the class decided they wanted to climb some of the pyramids. We prepared ourselves with sunhats and sun cream as well as water canteens. The water canteens was an idea brought up by an astute observer who saw no pictures of trees among all the photographs we had viewed of the site! Also the guide book mentioned that at the top of the pyramids waited vendors with exorbitantly priced drinks for their thirsty visitors who made it to the top!

We proceeded to take the Metro and then a bus to reach Teotihuacan, located 48 km north of the city center. As we approached Teotihuacan on the highway we were awed by the incredible scale of this ancient city (Slide # 13 ). The mile-and-a-half stretch of the “Street of the Dead” is one of the most arresting concentrations of monumental architecture in the world (Slide #14 ). This “avenue” is dominated by its major pyramids, the pyramids of the Sun and Moon and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent. Even though what we were seeing was in its skeletal form without the white and red plaster that once covered its scores of platforms, without the ornate temples that once topped them, we felt in awe of this mysterious city we had begun to learn about.

Investigating the layout of the city and examining the architectural remains and artifacts discovered creates a rich source for introducing many art projects with students where they can gain an understanding of the past still influencing the culture of Mexico today.

Activity No. 4

To introduce relief carving and its use in the sculptured surfaces of Teotihuacan a visit to the Temple of the Feathered Serpent cannot be overlooked.


Modeling tools—plastic or wooden

Dull bladed dinner knives

Acrylic paint

Acrylic polymer Motivation:

View the slides from the Temple of the Feathered Serpent (Slide # 15-18 ). Here we are separated from the palaces and major temples, not by overwhelming height and mass, as in the pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, but by architecturally expressed distance that is horizontal rather than vertical. The Temple of the Feathered Serpent formed the religious center of this huge compound called the Ciudadela (Slide # 19 ). It is thought to have been developed by a powerful ruler (ca. A.D. 150-225) who sought to use the prestige of its religion to make it significant as a place where ritual had to be performed to ensure the world’s continued existence.

In its sculptural decoration the Feathered Serpent illustrates the moment of creation as it was described in the highland Maya Popol Vuh. The Popol Vuh relates that in the still darkness before the creation only the creator plumed serpent lived in the ocean. The earth and human beings were not so much made but “thought”. For further interest there is a video which is the animation of this creation story available for borrowing through the Yale Teachers Institute in New Haven.

Examining the slides of the facade of the Temple of the Feathered Serpent we can see incredible examples of both low and high relief sculpture.


1. Relief sculpture can be made through simple carving techniques. I would suggest that Plaster of Paris be used because of its easy carving properties.
2. Mix the plaster(see specificdirections for the mixing of plaster in Activity No. 5 of this unit) and pour into a shoe box lid or any box which you can fill to a height of 1 inch.
3. After the plaster sets up—at least overnight—remove the cardboard and let the plaster slab thoroughly dry (no moisture or coolness to touch should remain).
4. Sketch the image you would like to carve with a pencil. You may suggest to your students that they may copy images they enjoyed during their excursion to Teotihuacan.
5. Procede to carve into the plaster with modeling tools or dull bladed dinner knives. Plastic knives with serrated edges work well too. Encourage the students to attempt the more high relief work (carving to a half inch depth ) but they need not rush the carving or the piece may snap in half.
6. The final image can be sanded smooth in places if desired or embellished with texture—let students experiment.
7. The finished pieces can be painted with acrylics if desired and then given a final coating of acrylic polymer matte, if available, to protect the exterior surface from chipping. Poster, watercolor, or tempera paint can be substituted for acrylic, however the surface will not be as durable. 8. The resulting carved reliefs could then be displayed as a unit by lying them together on a tabletop or mounting them on a sturdy corrugated board with elmers glue. It might be interesting for the students to assemble such a facade as their “temple”!

Activity No. 5

To introduce the mold making process and its origins in Teotihuacan culture.

This project can also be used to examine the nature of positive and negative space in sculpture.

Oil base clay / plasticine or modeling clay

Water base clay Release agent—vaseline or baby oil

Plaster of Paris


Small cardboard milk carton

Have the students visit the Peabody Museum and examine the Teotihuacan small ceramic figures in the glass case. Look at the third row on the bottom first, then compare to the figures on the top row how are they different? Ask the students how they would make replicas of these ceramic figures. Introduce the Teotihuacan life of many compounds (Slide # 20-24 ) producing different objects needed in this culture.

It is believed that these compounds could have been occupied by corporate groups with common occupations, for it has been archaeologically observed that craftsman dedicated to different manufactures lived in separate compounds. Although most of the people of Teotihuacan were farmers approximately 20 % were craftsman working in compounds devoted to specific occupations e.g. pottery, obsidian (natural glass material found in veins of volcanic rock forming the mercantile basis on which the urban center survived), basketry, clothing, and stone work.

Introduce the idea of a craft guild. It might be a good idea if the students bring a small sketchbook to note different ideas they see in the pieces in the case. What might be the reason to create these pieces in such great quantity? Think about the more complex symbols on the mold made ones and how mass production supported the dissemination of these symbols and their meanings.

Back in the classroom have a demo ready of a mold making activity for the students to observe the steps necessary for the pieces they will make.


1. Using the plasticene or oil base clay have the students create a face adding as many details as they choose. The face should be built in relief style on a flat board so they can easily make a one piece mold from it.
2. Build a wall by evenly cutting out the bottom of a milk carton and place it around the face when the face is completed. Make sure the bottom of the wall is secure to the base so there is no chance for the liquid plaster to leak out. Use the remaining oil base clay to insure this.
3. Add the release agent to the original and the inside walls. This will allow the mold to break away from the original piece upon separation.
4. Mix the plaster of paris. If you have never mixed plaster of paris before follow the directions on the box for the correct proportions or use my method:
____a. Fill a bucket approx. 1/2 to 3/4 full of hot (not scalding) water.
____b. Gradually sprinkle the plaster into the water until islands start forming and sinking into the water. Keep adding the plaster until the island stops sinking ( in other words the water has absorbed all the plaster it can).
____c. Stir the plaster/water gently with your hands until it is of a thick cream consistency. Do not stir briskly as this will create too many air bubbles which may disturb the surface of the finished mold.
5. Immediately fill all the milk cartons making sure to cover the original completely to approx. 1/2 in. above the highest point of the original. Tap the outside edges of the walls to release any air bubbles trapped inside the plaster piece. The bubbles will then rise to the surface of what will become the back of the mold.
6. Allow the plaster to thoroughly dry, usually overnight, before separating the mold from the original.
7. Allow the mold to thoroughly dry ( it will not feel cool to the touch and will become lighter due to the evaporation process). When dry use a stiff brush to take away any particles of oil base clay remaining on the mold from the original.
8. Now that the mold is ready you can make several copies by pressing oil base clay into the mold and pulling it away carefully showing the original form once again. If you would like to make ceramic pieces and have a kiln to fire them use water based clay to press into the mold. This would be ideal as the pieces could then be painted in the brightly colored tradition of the Teotihuacan.

Activity No. 6

To introduce the process of using templates to create pattern in mural construction based upon the murals discovered at Teotihuacan.

Large white or brown mural paper 18” x 24” drawing paper\



Tempera or acrylic paint

View the slides from Teotihuacan murals (Slides # 25-34).

Mural painting was the principal art form in Teotihuacan. Virtually all the excavated wall surfaces of Teotihuacan were once painted, adorned with complex figural designs and patterns. So far about forty structures have been partially or completely uncovered. This is only a fraction of the buildings of this ancient city, which was, at its maximum extent (A.D. 650) greater in size than Rome inside the Aurelian walls. Among the forty buildings there are about three hundred different mural designs. This is small in comparison to what most probably numbered in the tens of thousands.

The astute observer in the beginning of this unit that observed the lack of trees near Teotihuacan unknowingly tapped the source for the great amount of fresco painting on the walls of the city. The pine trees which at one time were in great abundance were chopped down to extinction in the preparation of the limestone which had to be burned to produce the lime for the painting of the stuccoed walls. To the environmentally sensitive this may have seemed to be unsound but it points to the great importance these images were to all the people of Teotihuacan. The murals were found not only in temples and public buildings but also in the apartment compounds and smaller habitations.

The number of repetitive designs suggests that patterns may have been used. These patterns or templates are not the same as the stenciling the students today may be familiar with. The templates, sometimes called cartoons, are simple. A drawing is made on paper or some other perishable material and placed on the plastered area to be painted. The lines of the drawing are marked with a hard instrument to press lines or punctuations into the still-wet plaster leaving the outlines of the image. This was a technique common to the fresco painting of the Old World.

In the following procedure the wet plaster will be replaced with the butcher paper as the wall surface.


1. Have the students design a template they would like to repeat in a creation of their own mural. The butcher paper can represent the wall as the students experiment with this process. Encourage the students to think about symbols in their environment which they might use representing the city of New Haven, e.g. the elm tree, symbol representing the nine square pattern of New Haven, or perhaps images of the people.
________The patterns of the Teotihuacan are not involved with perspective or the illusion of three dimensional space so the students could mimic this flat patterning in their conceptions.
________Students could work as artisans mimicking a compound of Teotihuacan.
2. All the border design patterns could be cut a similar size, so perhaps some of the students could organize the border patterns while others work on the more central images. Carbon paper can be used behind the paper templates to transfer their designs onto the butcher paper.

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Ending our visit to Mexico is more like a beginning for further understanding of the life of the many peoples of the world. I hope that those teachers who may have chosen to utilize this unit will have found the excursion interesting for their students and helpful in introducing Mexico in the classroom setting. As I was one of those uninterested students of Social Studies I tried to make my approach reach towards the curiousity of the students which inspires further study.

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Slide Reference:

1. Subway Excavations

____(McDowell 1980: 706-707)

2. Mural of Tenochtitlan—Rivera

____Mural by Diego Rivera in the National Palace.

____The Great City of Tenochtitlan, 1945, fresco, 4.92 x 9.71m., Mexico City. Scenes from the history of the battles of Mexico from the mythic preHispanic era up through modern times.

____(Wiesental 1978: 8)

3. Aerial photograph of modern Mexico city

____(McDowell 1980: 716-717)

4. Model of Tenochtitlan

____The Great Temple or Teocalli of ancient Tenochtitlan.

____(Wiesental 1978: 4)

5. Rain God—Tlaloc

____The Central Mexican god of rain and lightning.

____One of the most common images found at Teotihuacan.

____(Grossman 1967: plate 56

6. The Market at Tlatelolco—model

____The Market at Tlatelolco was the largest and most important in the centre of Mexico; there, objects from all parts of Mesoamerica were exchanged and courts of justice were held.

____(Wiesental 1978: 4)

7. Plaza of the Three Cultures

____(Wiesental 1978: 5)

8. Plaza of the Three Cultures

____(Wiesental 1978: 5)

9. Chapultepec Park

____(Wiesental 1978: 30)

10. Tlaloc—monolith outside Museum of Anthropology

____(Meyer 1973: 23)

11. Photograph of moving Tlaloc to museum

____(Meyer 1973: 21)

12. Teotihuacan Figurines

____Handmade figures, Teotihuacan Early Classic period.

____(Bottom photo: figurines part of collection at Yale University Art Gallery)

____(Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 226)

13. Photograph of Teotihuacan

____(Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 64)

14. Diagram of Teotihuacan showing “Street of the Dead”

____(Meyer 1973:54)

15. Temple of Feathered Serpent

____View of Street of the Dead and Pyramid of the Sun in the distance.

____(Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 105)

16. Temple of Feathered Serpent


____(Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 52)

17. Temple of Feathered Serpent

____(Grossman 1967: plate 7)

18. Temple of Feathered Serpent

____(Coe 1962: 95)

19. Ciudadela compound

____(Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 116)

20. Photograph of individual compound

____(Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 90)

21. Diagram of a Teotihuacan compound

____(Coe 1962: 96)

22. Ceramic molds

____Selection of Molds and Adornos from a workshop at the northwest corner of the Ciudadela.

____CNCA-INAH-MEX, Museo Arqueologico de Teotihuacan.

____(Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 120)

23. Tripod Vessel

____Stuccoed and painted cylindrical tripods.

____The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

____(Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 83)

24. Tripod Vessels

____Plano-relief vessel with Medallions

____Xolalpan A.D. 400-650

____(Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 250)


25. Goddess with Claws

____Metepec A.D. 650-750

____Fresco on wall fragment. 20 x 30.5 in.

____Goddess identified by headdress—yellow & red zigzag bands and skirtlike platform. Face? Eyes? Water lilies pour from her mouth floating on a speech or water scroll and she is thought to have control over nature and fertility.

____(Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 195)

26. Feathered Serpent and Flowering Trees

____Probably Metepec A.D. 650-750. Techinantitla.

____Fresco on wall fragment. 22.25 x 60.5in.

____From the mouth of the serpent flows a stream of water with the frequently used eye symbol used in water representation. The trees contain repeating glyphs at their bases which it has been suggested forms a type of picture writing.

____(Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 202)

27. Coyotes and Deer

____Probably Metepec A.D. 650-750. Techinantitla.

____Fresco on wall fragment. 24 x 58 in.

____Painting shows an act of violence rare in Teotihuacan art. Animals are as frequent a subject as human beings or deities but usual symbols are not m use here. This could be an allegory referring to human sacrifice. Victim=deer, Sacrificer=coyote. Possible claim that human practices were like those of nature.

____(Berrin and Pasztory 1993: 200)

28. Storm God (Tlaloc)

____Xolalpan A.D. 400-650. Zacula.

____Fresco on wall fragment. 31 x 57in.

____Tlaloc as a patron of fertility and abundance.

29. Mural at Zacula Palace

____Black and white drawing of wider setting of repeating profile Tlaloc figures.

____(Miller, A. 1973: 110-111)

30. Mural at Zacula Palace

____Tlaloc figure holding corn stalk and carrying basket full of corn—maize being the staple of the Teotihuacan diet.

____(Miller, A. 1973: 112)

31. Mural at Tepantitla Complex

____Repeating profile figures.

____(Miller A. 1973: 101)

32. Black and white drawing of Slide 29 showing the wider setting of these figures in the mural.

____(Miller A. 1973: 101-102)

* Drawing on cover page by D. Platt taken from border mural at Teotihuacan—Tepantitla, Room 2.

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* indicates student references Berrin, Kathleen and Pasztory, Esther. Teotihuacan. Thames and Hudson, 1993.

Good specialized study of Teotihuacan sculpture and painting. Excellent photographs. Resource for many of the Slides in this unit.

Coe, Michael D. Mexico. Thames and Hudson Inc., New York, 1962. Good survey of history of pre-Spanish peoples in Mexico. Excellent black/white photographs. New editions available too.

* De La Haba. “Mexico, the City That Founded a Nation”, National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 143 (May 1973): 639-669.

Good resource for tour through contemporary Mexico City including subway excavations.

* Garrett, W.E. “South to Mexico City”, National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 134 (Aug. 1968): 145-194.

Contemporary Mexico City with references to the ancient past. Excellent student and teacher source to learn of life in Mexico City today.

Grossmann, Richard (text), Bernath, Ursula (photographs). Mexico the Land, the Art and the People. Universe Books, New York, 1967.

Excellent photographs for contrast of contemporary and ancient Mexico.

* McDowell, Bart. “The Aztecs”, National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 158 (Dec. 1980): 704-752.

Tells of a complex people, who still live today. Excellent photographs of ancient and contemporary Aztec culture. Excellent reproduction of temple through the subway excavation in Mexico City.

Includes map of Mexico and Central America.

* Meyer, Karl E. Teotihuacan. Newsweek Book Division, Wonders of Man Series, 1973.

Excellent text and Photographs for classroom use covering the ancient mexican city of Teotihuacan.

Miller, Arthur G. The Mural Painting of Teotihuacan. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., 1973.

Good photographs and renderings of murals.

Text on the technical side.

Miller, Mary. Art of Mesoamerica. Thames and Hudson Inc., New York, 1986. Most up to date survey of the art and architecture of ancient Mesoamerica summarizing the artistic achievements of the high Precolumbian civilizations Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacan, Toltec, Aztec as well as their less well-known contemporaries. Excellent photographs and illustrations

* Miller and Taube. The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1993.

An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. Tremendous

source for the student, scholar and traveler in understanding the references to image and symbols made in many of the books in this bibliography.

* Moctezuma, Eduardo Matos. The Great Temple , National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 158 Dec. 1980): 767-775.

Includes excellent reconstructions of the excavation of the multishelled pyramid in the heart of Mexico City as well as beautiful photographs of artifacts found there.

* Molina Montes, Augusto F. “Tenochtitlan’s Glory”, National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 158 (Dec. 1980): 753-766.

Covers deities, calendar stone, and the construction of Tenochtitlan.

Excellent photographs and illustrations. Newsweek/Mondori. National Museum of Anthropology/Mexico City.

Newsweek, Inc. & Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Great Museums of the World Series, 1970.

Excellent color reproductions of the treasures of Pre-Hispanic Mexico.

Large photographs good for use with opaque projector. Platt, Diane. “America’s Urban Landscape”, The National Experience: American Art and Culture, Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, Vol. IV, 1992:127-146.

The city as portrayed by American artists.

Not for use directly with this unit but as a further examination of the city as portrayed in art.

Platt, Diane. “Our Images Make History”, The Minority Artist in America, Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, Vol. IV, 1993:51-70.

Background on the life of Diego Rivera/W. P.A./Contemporary Muralists. Includes lessons for classroom use on mural making that could be used in conjunction with Teotihuacan section.

* Smith, Bradley. Mexico: A History in Art. Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1968.

Good text for student reading and overall history of the art of Mexico.

Thompson, Katherine & Charlotte. Mexico/ Cadogan Guides. Cadogan Books, London, The Globe Pequot Press, Chester, Connecticut, 1991.

Excellent guide source.

Townsend, Richard F. The Aztecs. Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1992. Wiesental, M. Mexico City. Crescent Books, New York, 1978.

Wonderful color photographs of contemporary Mexico City.

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