[40], Tajin Chico is a multilevel portion of the site that stretches north-northwest from the older parts of the city up a hill. Another panel shows a warrior ritual with a central figure dressed as an eagle standing over a person reclining on a couch and flanked by two musicians. [48], Just east of Tajin Chico is an area of valley floor. There are also facilities for workshops, exhibitions, alternative therapies, seminars and ceremonies. [6][15], Chronology studies at Tajín and nearby sites show that the area has been occupied at least since 5600 BCE and show how nomadic hunters and gatherers eventually became sedentary farmers, building more complex societies prior to the rise of the city of El Tajin. Variant forms of the god of pulque appear over each of the end panels, suggesting that the drink was an important part of the ritual. Impressions of baskets, tamale wrappers and other items have been found in the dried cement. The criticism is that it disrespects the site and the Totonac people. The liquid is protected by a reclining chacmool, who is speaking. The four end panels have scenes relating to the ritual of the ball game that result in entreaties to the gods. The three figures are all dressed in the garments and symbols of the ballgame. [59] In 2008, 160,000 attended the event which featured Fito Páez, Ximena Sariñana and Los Tigres del Norte. El Tajín is a pre-Columbian archeological site in southern Mexico and is one of the largest and most important cities of the Classic era of Mesoamerica. As late as the mid 20th century, remains of beeswax candles could still be found left on the first level of this pyramid. Nearby buildings A and B were palaces. Overlooking this scene is the death deity who rises from a vat of liquid, perhaps pulque. There are numerous buildings in this section but many are not accessible to visitors due to the lack of trails and many have yet to be explored. The scene shows as dual procession with 13 Rabbit seated on a wooden throne and his feet on a severed head. The divider in the center is a buttress to hold the fill behind the stairs in place. Under the fourth panel, an older panel was found. Beneath the larger niches is a line of seven panels. We offer many custom color finishes like Silver Leaf, Bronze, Between them are intertwined slashes, the symbol of the ballgame and a ball. [49], Building 3 or the Blue Temple has some features that set it apart from other pyramids at the site. Ancient History Encyclopedia. It is also noteworthy that a stela depicting a standing ruler figure in relief was discovered at the base of the pyramid and is another strong artistic link to the Maya. [15] To date, only about fifty percent of the city's buildings has been excavated, revealing a series of plazas, palaces, and administrative buildings within a two-square-mile area. Photographed by Ileana Olmos. [45], The Building of the Columns dominates the highest portion of Tajin Chico. Apr 14, 2020 - History Aztec Maya Mesoamerica Chichen Itza Ball court Skull plaque wall Sculpture Statue www.Neo-Mfg.com 10 The ball Skull is taken from a set of murals from the South Ballcourt at El Tajín, showing the sacrifice of a ballplayer. This is a wall, which from above forms a giant stepped fret and encloses about 129,000 square feet (12,000 m2). [12] These two streams provided the population's potable water. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Books The Cumbre Tajin is considered to be an identity festival of the Totonacs, who are considered to be the guardians of El Tajín. It has become the focus of the site because of its unusual design and good state of preservation. It also gained the interest of several academics, who compared the pyramid with the constructions of ancient Rome. [5] The only other known example of two story construction is in the Mayan territories. The site museum is also located here. However, a series of indigenous maps dating from the time of the Spanish conquest, found in nearby Tihuatlan and now known as the Lienzos de Tuxpan, suggest that the city might then have been called “Mictlan” or “place of the dead”, a common denomination for ancient sites whose original names have been lost. It faces west and appears to have a civil function much like Building C in Tajín Chico. The figure on the right holds a large knife which is at the center figure's neck. Overview of the ball court Sculpted panel of ballplayer being beheaded Face decoration One of the panels Building 5 . Depicts a person wearing ball game clothing. By this time, he had uncovered most of the major buildings and established that Tajín was one of the most important cities of ancient Mexico. In being named a World Heritage Site in 1992, new facilities have been added to this area, such as a cafeteria, information services, a park and administrative offices. There are scrolls indicating speech from the sacrifice as well as a depiction of the skeletal god. Some argue in favor of the Totonacs and the Xapaneca; however, there is a significant amount of evidence that the area was populated by the Huastec at the time the settlement was founded in the 1st century CE[16][18] Monumental construction started soon after and by 600 CE, El Tajín was a city. His drawings and descriptions were published in a book named Voyage pittoresque et archéologique published in Paris in 1836. [45] The upper level contains a corridor that goes all the way around and a number of rooms. There have been a number of research projects as well as reconstruction projects and projects to make more of the site accessible to visitors. [4] This architecture includes the use of decorative niches and cement in forms unknown in the rest of Mesoamerica. [8], Air pollution from oil-drilling platforms and power stations along the coast causes high levels of acid rain in the region, which is eroding the intricately carved reliefs on the soft limestone buildings “at an alarming rate”, according to Humberto Bravo of the University of Mexico's Center for Atmospheric Sciences in 2007. [46] Building A is constructed over older buildings that were buried when this area was filled in, some aspects of the building, like the buttresses been damage due to settling where there are no buildings below. One of the panels at the Pyramid of the Niches shows a ceremony being held at a cacao tree. A large quantity of sculpture was recovered from this pyramid. The niches on the original structure, not counting those on the later stairway, total 365, the solar year. Veracruz. Classic period, circa 500 - 900. A skeletal figure rises from a … The upper level was adorned with stepped frets and scrolls as well. Due to the lack of beams or other materials to prop it up, this roof had to be very thick to support itself. 1). A figure dressed as an eagle dances in front while a skeletal deity flies above and the death deity rises from liquid. What is depicted on the panel of the South Ballcourt at El Tajin? The north central panel represents the continuation of the ritual in the afterlife, and shows how the events of the game connect the society of El Tajin to the gods. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/El_Tajin/. Tajin Chico is more elevated than the earlier portion of the city, and its buildings are aligned along a north-west to south-east axis so that the whole is set at a 60 degree angle to the structures of older El Tajin. Each year since 1992, the number of visitors to the site increases which now stands at 653,000 annually. The northwest panel shows the beginning of the ballgame. [15], Building C was not a temple but its function is not entirely clear. The third story begins with a wall of niches and no visible stairs. Niches are also found underneath the stairway along the east face, which indicates that the stairway was a later addition. They include scores of temples, eleven ballcourts, a palace complex, and numerous other public buildings covering 2.5 square kilometers. At the center of the scene is a temple with the rain and wind gods seated on top and a vat of liquid within. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. This seems to have been the most important god of the culture as other depictions are found in other places at the site. The alley is framed by structures 17 and 27. The entrance is on the south side of the building and is quite elaborate. [20] Most of the population lived in the hills surrounding the main city,[13] and the city obtained most of its foodstuffs from the Tecolutla, Nautla and Cazones areas. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Totonac. [2], El Tajín, named after the Totonac rain god,[3] was named a World Heritage site in 1992, due to its cultural importance and its architecture. Unlike the rest of the city, these four buildings are uniform in height and nearly symmetrical. The lower level is adorned with large rectangular panels which appear to have been painted red. There are relatively few temples here. This led to the building of many pyramids with temples and seventeen ballcourts, more than any other Mesoamerican site. These columns were thickened over time as it became apparent to have stronger bracing for the weight of the two floors. This paper proposes a case-sample analysis of the bas-reliefs in the South Ballcourt based on reticular geometry and fractal dimension analysis. The original staircase was destroyed then reworked into its present form. The interior of the building is composed of loose stone, mostly rounded river boulders. This vast site is located along the northern Gulf Coast of Mexico. The enclosed room is for smaller objects that have been found during the years the site has been explored, most coming from the Pyramid of the Niches. The glyphs above the deity identify it with the planet Venus. There is a popular belief that each niche contained an idol or effigy but archeological work here has ruled this out. Access to the top of the pyramid, where the temple once stood, is via a double staircase on the east side. View Notes - ARTH 250 - Lecture 8 from ARTH 250 at University of Maryland. One panel shows two ball players cutting out the heart of a third player above whom is another skeletal figure hungry for the victim’s soul. To further this effect, the inside of the frets were painted dark red and the exterior portion light blue, similar to turquoise. [9], It is also the site of the annual Cumbre Tajin Festival, which occurs each March featuring indigenous and foreign cultural events as well as concerts by popular musicians. However, the director states that more needs to be done to conserve the site, especially its fragile murals, and to balance the needs of tourists against the need to conserve the site in general. [19], From 600 to 1200 CE, El Tajín was a prosperous city that eventually controlled much of what is now modern Veracruz state. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. [4][8] “Its architecture, which is unique in Mesoamerica, is characterized by elaborate carved reliefs on the columns and frieze. Adornment in the form of niches and stepped frets are omnipresent, decorating even utilitarian buttresses and platform walls. Yet there is equally a theme of rebirth associated with the ubiquitous ballgame as the blood spilled during the sacrifice was thought to feed the Maize God, mimicking the watering of … The columns carry relief carvings which narrate scenes from the life of probably El Tajin’s last ruler, 13 Rabbit. The southeast, east and northwest panels show a ruler on a throne. However the city also had communities located on the hills east and west of the main city, with mostly lower-class dwellings. Relief from the south ball court at El Tajin, panel 6. [22] The publication of the pyramid's existence in the Gaceta influenced academic circles in New Spain and Europe, attracting the attention of antiquarians José Antonio de Alzate y Ramírez and Ciriaco Gonazlez Carvajal, who wrote about it. This allowed for more intensive investigation of the area. In front is a sacrifice victim with his entrails slung over a frame. Built in the 10th century CE, it originally had a six-column colonnade on its eastern façade and is approached by a short stairway with retaining walls. Cite This Work PAGE 123 123 Figure 68. He points to the vat and addresses the rain god. Unlike other ballccourts, there are no carved panels and no sculptures have been associated with this structure. He claimed the natives had kept the place secret. [1] From the time the city fell, in 1230, to 1785, no European seems to have known of its existence, until a government inspector chanced upon the Pyramid of the Niches. Built by three large flagstone layers, this ballcourt features an ornamental fresco and six carved panels depicting ritual scenes. Northeast mural portraying human sacrifice. [39], The pyramid is flanked by two smaller structures named Building 2 and Building 4. In El Tajin, from Late Classic Period AD 650 - AD 1000. The figure seems to be an allegorical representation of a seated figure with a severed upper torso and a skull for a head. There are six carved panels with ritual scenes and an ornamental frieze that runs along both walls. South Ballcourt relief, El Tajn, Veracruz, Late Classic Hacha, El Tajn, Veracruz, Late Classic Palma with Maize God El Tajin became one of the most significant centers in Mesoamerica during the Pre- Columbian era around 6001100 CE. https://www.ancient.eu/El_Tajin/. These were painted yellow, blue, red and black. The sculpted panels on these walls remain largely intact and show in step-by-step fashion how the ball game was played here, complete with ceremonies, sacrifice and the response of the gods. Buried under all of this is a smaller stricter with taluds but no niches. Blue is most often associated with the rain god but there is no other evidence to support this. The small buildings that surround this pyramid are meant to complement it. El Tajin Map Plaza del Arroyo Pyramid of the Niches [4], At the end of the Classic period, El Tajín survived the widespread social collapse, migrations and destructions that forced the abandonment of many population centers at the end of this period. [59] However, the Centro de Artes Indígenas de Veracruz states that it works very hard to preserve and promote Totonac culture through the event, sponsoring events such as traditional cooking, painting and the ritual of the Voladores. To lighten the load and to bind the layers of cement, pumice stones and pottery shards were mixed into the cement. In the center are two intertwined serpents which seem to form the shape of a tlaxmalactl or ball game marker. [6] Unlike the highly rigid grid patterns of ancient cities in the central highlands of Mexico, the builders of El Tajin designed and aligned buildings as individual units. The false stairs were originally adorned with scroll motifs done in blue and yellow paint, but very little remains. It is a modern facility with the aim of being a center of Veracruz indigenous identity. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. [56], The southeast panel illustrates the opening ritual when the principal participant is elaborately dressed and is being handed a bundle of spears. [32], The site museum is divided into two parts: an enclosed building and a roofed area covering large stone sculpture fragments. Relief from the south ball court at El Tajin panel 3, The twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque discuss the tactics of the ball game. [11] West of the building on the south side is a large ball court with sloped sides and sculpted friezes depicting the god Quetzalcoatl. Many have feathered headdresses and reptilian attributes and a few are human like. [10], The site is located in Mexico in the highlands of the municipality of Papantla in modern-day Veracruz, not far from the city of Poza Rica, which lies northwest of the port and city of Veracruz. At the top of the stairway were probably two large three-dimensional stelae. There is an inner courtyard and ornately decorated, with stepped frets, other symbols in stone and cement which were painted. The stones, especially around the niches are fitted together as to need a minimum amount of lime and earth mortar. The voladores appear every half-hour at the pole and circle erected just outside the main gate. [51], Just south of Buildings 3 and 23 is Building 15, which is only partially excavated. Web. The friezes running along the upper edges of the court are composed of interlocking scroll figures, each containing a central element of a head and an eye. El Tajin was destroyed by fire and abandoned around 1100 CE or even earlier. There are no fewer than 17 ballcourts at El Tajin, an unusually high number, which has led the historian M. E. Miller to speculate that the city may well have held great sporting festivals much like those at Olympia in Ancient Greece. The most important part of the structure was the temple that was on top of this pyramid; however, this was completely destroyed and little is known about what it might have looked like. Once the court walls were built six panels were sculpted at the corners and centers of the two walls. Most of the remains of these columns are on display at the site museum. [34] The market that filled this plaza consisted of stalls made with sticks and cloth offering regional products such as vanilla as well as products from other parts of Mesoamerica such as jaguar skins, exotic birds such as the parrot and the macaw and quetzal feathers. [2], In 1785, an official by the name of Diego Ruiz stumbled upon the Pyramid of the Niches, whilst looking for clandestine tobacco plantings breaching the royal monopoly in this isolated area rarely visited by the authorities. The entry to this complex of buildings and plazas contained a colonnade decorated with elaborate narrative scenes. The sculpture is similar in style to the carved stone yokes of Veracruz. Indeed, El Tajin seems to have been a repository for rubber which was used to make the solid black balls used in the Mesoamerican ballgame. This is the only multistoried palace found outside the Mayan areas. The sacrificed player appears here, whole and with a pot under his arm. [5] Its best-known monument is the Pyramid of the Niches, but other important monuments include the Arroyo Group, the North and South Ballcourts and the palaces of Tajín Chico. El Tajin is a more modern name derived from the Totonac rain god or, more precisely, the twelve old men or Tajin who were considered lords of thunderstorms and who were thought to live in the ruins of the city. [50], While the Blue Temple was a fairly early construction, the pyramid next to it, Building 23 was built very late in Tajin's history. The blood falls into the vat and to refill it with pulque. One holds a large knife in his left hand and gestures with his right. Pyramid of the Niches . [22], Since its discovery by Europeans, the site has attracted visitors for two centuries. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. [4][19] It reached its apogee in the Epi-Classic (900-1100 CE) before suffering destruction and the encroachment of the jungle. For five days, voladores from various places perform at the poles erected at the site. One tells the story of 13 Rabbit, a ruler of El Tajin who probably had the building constructed. These fields not only produced staples such as corn and beans but luxury items such as cacao. This name also appears in the Matricula de Tributos, a surviving Aztec tribute record, which later formed part of the Codex Mendoza. [43], Building B is a two-story structure that was used as a residence and classified as a palace. Slaves for service and sacrifice were also sold here. Another feature shared only with the Mayans is the use of a light blue paint. The snakes represent the ball game marker called the tlaxmalacatle in Aztec times. [14], The area is rainforest, with a hot wet climate of the Senegal type. It is also affected by a weather phenomenon called “nortes.” These are cold fronts with winds that come from the north and down the Tamaulipas and Veracruz coasts. At El Tajin various rituals-including human sacrifice, are shown in the South Ball Court with participants sporting yokelike belts. The court has a general east-west alignment and is 198 feet (60 m) long and 34.5 feet (10.5 m) wide. The site boasts many buildings, temples, palaces and ball courts, but the most impressive of all is the stunning Pyramid of the Niches. There are several architectural features here which are unique to the place or seen in only rarely in Mesoamerica. [10], In 2009, the event added the Encuentro Internacional de Voladores (International Encounter of Voladores). Two of these ballcourts contain sculpted panels which depict the ball game and its ritual significance. The building was covered in cement several times over its history, and each layer of this cement was painted in blue rather than the more common red. Ballplayers from Guerrero, Mexico. [52], Building 5 is considered to be the stateliest of the El Tajin site. Ballcourt located northeast of the Plaza del Arroyo, El Tajin site. He was also the first to speculate that the pyramid was part of a larger city. This stone carving from the South Ballcourt at the archaeological site of El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. The surrounding fertile land was (and still is) ideal for the cultivation of maize, cacao, vanilla, and tobacco, an ideal basis to support a prosperous trade centre. Human Sacrifice, El Tajinby Thomas Aleto (CC BY). Tajin VI from 600 CE saw the construction of the north ballcourt. This complex was one of the last to be built and it also shows evidence if fire and other damage from the fall of the city. It has been suggested that the buildings were filled with earth to support the roof as it was being poured and dried. Originally the structure was painted a dark red with the niches in black intended to deepen the shadows of the recessed niches. At their waists are the protective and ritual accoutrements which are very similar to the stone yokes, palmas and hachas common in elite burials. [11] Another unusual feature is that this plaza has no smaller structures such as buildings or altars to break up the space. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. Remnants of this paint can be seen on part of the stairway and on the side facing east toward Building 23. It is located at the northwest corner of the Great Xicalcoluihqui and at the base of Tajin Chico. The principal participant is supine on a kind of a sofa. Many of the buildings are typical of the Classic Veracruz style and so were richly decorated with relief carvings which would also have been brightly painted. Entrance and museum: Volador Plaza and commercial area Diego Rivera mural of El Tajin. The differences are a depiction of the moon as a rabbit, the rain god in front of the temple and the level of the liquid in the vat lowered. [11] He made a drawing of the pyramid and reported his find to a publication called Gaceta de Mexico. Building 4 contains a smaller, older structure inside it that may be among the earliest structures at the site. [23][24], The first archeologists reached the site in the early 20th century and included Teobert Maler, Edward Seler, Francisco del Paso y Troncoso and Herbert and Ellen Spinden. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. Deeper excavation found an older, damaged structure which was covered over by the visible structure. There are also fears that large numbers of visitors to the site for events such as concerts by names such as Alejandra Guzmán damage the site. However, the one on the northeast side has been completely destroyed due to centuries-old trail that was used when this area was still jungle. These frets were probably painted blue as they were on other buildings, where remains of paint have been found. [34][35] The east and west pyramids of the arroyo group each held three temples at the top. When the city fell, most of the sculptures in this area were smashed or defaced with some being reused as building stone. [30], The entrance to the site is located at the south end. Two have been partially explored. This space is broken by six stone and cement pillars which support the floor above. Constructed between the 9th and 10th centuries CE, Tajin Chico was probably used as a residential area for the city’s aristocracy. Six narrative panels relating a ballgame myth or story What was the frequent subject of the ballgame at El Tajin? The use of niches is unique to El Tajin. [11], While ballcourts are common in Mesoamerica, El Tajin distinguishes itself by having seventeen. It hosts fairs, conventions and other events, including part of the annual Cumbre Tajín cultural festival which is held in March. El Tajin is a Mesoamerican archaeological site located in the North of the state of Veracruz, near the Gulf Coast of Mexico. "El Tajin." One of the most striking structures at El Tajin is the South Ballcourt. Ballcourt goal, Chichén Itzá Cylinder Vase, Peten, Guatemala, AD 593-830, Ceramic with red, white and black on yellow-cream slip, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston One of a series of murals from the South Ballcourt at El Tajin, showing the sacrifice of a ballplayer. The twins play the game assisted by gods, one in rabbit form, against the... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images There is evidence that El Tajin was first settled in the 1st century CE, and the city underwent twelve distinct building phases up to the 12th century CE. The iconography of those scenes, which is the chief subject of this chapter, forms a narrative program that may be compared with the two major programs already discussed: those of the Central Plaza and the South Ballcourt. "El Tajin." [55], The South Ballcourt, like the North Ball court, has only vertical walls which are sculpted. At the center of the false stairway are true stairs leading upwards under an arch to the first level of the palace. Access to the first level of the pyramid, which is lined with niches, is via a single staircase on the west side or a double staircase on the east side. [28] The poured cement was used in the only building with two floors at the site, Building B, as a roof and as a separator between the ground and upper floor. [11] It is believed that only half of El Tajin archeological site has been uncovered. The early centuries at the site show evidence of influence from Teotihuacan both in pottery and architecture, notably with the first stepped pyramids. 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Last ruler, 13 Rabbit 's name glyph appears above as well as arts..., is remarkable for many reasons structure built most of the ballgame and a ball frets capped by niches have! Decorated with stepped frets are omnipresent, decorating even utilitarian buttresses and platform....

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