A MAJOR exhibition into the
The exhibition which runs until November 13 provides a unique insight into the culture, ideology, traditions and social and economic organisation of this remarkable yet relatively little known City of the Gods civilization which has intrigued international scholars for centuries.
Now further focus has been turned onto the subject in a major exhibition displaying 400 objects recovered during a century of excavations in and around the site and on loan from Mexican museums at the Caixa Forum Cultural Centre in
The objects on display range from every day household items to smooth stone masks and exquisite jewellery and sculptures; none more so than the Mask of Malinaltepec dating from 700AD with its encrusted, mosaic stones and beaded necklace.
Many of the sculptures depict religious and military symbols. The stone sculpture known as the Disk of Death is believed to have marked the beginning of the decline of the civilization.
Mention ancient civilisations of
At the height of its power around 450AD
The site of the city of
Built between 150 and 250 AD, the city was the largest built in the
The main avenue, built on a north south axis, known as the avenue of the dead links the northern Pyramid of the Moon and Pyramid of the Sun with the southern Citadel, which included the most important building in the city known as the
This temple testifies to the importance of religion in the
The area was a source of mineral wealth with jade, mica, marble serpentine and travertine stone, used by craftsmen who become specialists in the production of murals, ceramics pottery, stone carvings, masks, bone shells, sculptures and jewellery often used to trade and negotiate strategic alliances. The feathers of the sacred bird, the Quetzal, are depicted in many objects and murals.
Although there is some evidence that some of the residential and ceremonial sectors of the city were destroyed by fire, perhaps an earthquake, there are conflicting explanations over its demise.
Like many ancient civilisations there was a strong belief in fatalism. It was said that if the universe was created by Gods then Gods could determine the end of their creation.
However there are several opinions that link the cause of its disappearance to internal revolt against the established ruling power, social difficulties caused by the excessive growth in population and the consequent ignoring of the plight of the people by the elite. Interestingly these reasons could well apply to our own democracies today. We should take note of what history teaches us.
Caixa Forum Social and Cultural centre
Paseo del Prado 36
1: Malinaltepec Mask700 AD
3: Mural depicting flowers stucco and pigments 600-700AD
4: Disc of death: stone around 600AD