Cancun

Cancum, Mexico, 31 August 2016

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

The last post was colour infrareds of the journey from Flores to Cancun.  I also took a few regular images.  In this and the next one we are taking off from Flores.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Over the Caribbean.  There was also an infrared from the same location.

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From the air, one of the tourist resorts on the coast at Cancun.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

A view of the beach from a tourist resort.  Normally, I would never stay in one of these by choice, but it was close to the airport and we had a flight to Cuba the next day. They really represent modern commercial colonialism.  They monopolise the beachfront and are designed to encourage you to stay within their economic zone.  We are in Mexico and yet the ATMs only deliver American dollars.  We encountered them in several places in the Caribbean.  They often deny local people their traditional access to beaches for recreation and fishing.  In Jamaica we were told how some drove local people out of their roadside stalls, depriving them of significant income, in the interests of providing a homogenised experience for their clients.

In this case, as well as convenience for the next day’s flight, we were also close to a Mayan museum and some local ruins.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Glyphs on this stela mention Yuhkno’m Ch’e’n i, who ruled Dzibanche in the southern Yucutan Pensula in the sixth century. The reliefs also show lords from neighboring cities of El Resbalón and Yo’okop, captured  in a war of conquest.  Yuhkno’m Ch’e’n i was the founder of the Kaonor or “Serpent Head” dynasty. After 636 AD, they moved to Calakmul, from where its rulers conquered Tikal and controlled the central area of Petén.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Design outline of a similar stela.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

This is a figure from the facade of a Mayan building, which were lavishly decorated and painted with scenes associated with divine rulers and supernatural beings.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

A censer (object for burning incense) associated with a cult of the ancestors.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

“The Maya were skilled mathematicians and astronomers. One of the most observed planets was Venus, since its transit predicted ominous auguries with the war. The Mayans recorded their cycle of 584 days in codices and stone panels like this one.”

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“A constant in the figures of the culture of the West is the representation of characters with vessels. Interestingly, both men and women carrry them. In agricultural societies, the vessel is a vital element as a container, for cooking and storing food.”

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

“The rnaquetas are three-dimensional representations showing the way of life in the West, personalising gender roles and some who served. The detail and the purpose with which the pieces were made allow to visualize the expressiveness in bodies and faces, facilitating the identification of their gender.”

(Some of these translations may be a little garbled).

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

“Exalting the continuous search for beauty has always been a defining characteristic of humanity. In the West, painting the figures combines the divine and the earthly. In this Ameca style piece you can see a black decoration that serves to represent body aspects such as the hair and the iris of the eye.  Also to settle the beauty of the face and in the case of the breasts is a symbol of the cyclical.”

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

There was also a dragon (?) in the entrace of the museum.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Outside was the remains of some Mayan dwellings and buildings.  This is a recreation from a notice board.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

The Mayans may have gone but the iguanas remain.

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This is the remains of the building shown on the notice board.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

The steps of a small pyramid.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Another iguana.

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Next was Cuba, but another trip is fast approaching (more on that soon) and I have run out of time for the moment.  To be continued at some later date….

Mexico City Monos

Mexico City, 18-22 August 2016

 

Links go to posts with the colour versions of the images (where there may also be more information). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Teotihuacan, from Museo Nacionale de Antropologia.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Olmec.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Huaxtec.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Maya.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Maya.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Maya.

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Central Mexico City.

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Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Frida Kahlo’s House.

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Frida Kahlo’s House.

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Frida’s Studio.

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Frida’s bedroom.

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Frida’s corsets.

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Palacio Nacional.

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On the streets of Mexico City.

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On the streets of Mexico City.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

On the streets of Mexico City.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

On the streets of Mexico City.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Tenochtitlan today.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Chac mool.

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Tlaltecuhtli, Museo del Templo Mayor.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Ball court marker?

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Jade Mask.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Museo Nacional de Arte.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Museo Nacional de Arte.

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Museo del Templo Mayor

Mexico City, Mexico, 24 August 2016

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Wall of skulls.

In the previous post, we visited the remains of the Templo Mayor, the main temple of Tenochtitlan.  In this post we see some of the objects that archaeologists discovered during their excavations.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

I didn’t photograph the label for this one but I recall that thios recreates these objects as they were found.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Relief of Tlaltecuhtli.

This relief represents Earth god, Tlaltecuhtli, in its feminine version. The goddess has her back towards the front, with her head turned over and upside down, and she is in the natural squatting childbirth position. She has curly hair on her head, lipless mouth and a skull tied to her waist; in the joints (elbows and knees) she has faces shaped as claws, similar to the one on the knife coming out of her mouth.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Tlaloc Brazier.

This brazier represents God Tialoc with tears coming out of his eyes, showing the symbolic relationship of tears with rain. It is a faithful Aztec copy of braziers produced four centuries before by the Toltecs. The Aztecs frequently visited the ruins of Tula, abandoned around 1150 AD, to extract burials, offerings, sculptures and other traces of the religious buildings considered to be magic, since they were the work of the magnificent people of Quetzalcoatl.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Olmec Mask.

This piece shows the typical Olmec features and two perforations on the back side which probably were used to hang it up.  Its presence in the Templo Mayor shows the veneration which the Aztecs had for antiques, since the Olmec tradition flourished in Mesoamerica between 1200 BC and 400 BC.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Pot with an image.

This is an imitation of the plumbate ceramic of the Soconusco region, shared nowadays by the Mexican state of Chiapas and the Republic of Guatemala.  The face captured on the pot corresponds to an elderly person and possibly represents the god of fire, Xiuhtecuhtli.  The Aztecs may have taken it from Teotihuacan, a sacred city for them, where similar objects have been found.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Jade mask.  No label but I wnder whether it’s Mayan.

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Eagle Warrior.

Natural sized ceramic sculpture representing an Eagle Warrior.  It retains remains of the stucco that covered it, simulating feathers of the authentic suits. The Eagle Warriors and the Jaguar Warriors were the two most important sections within the Aztec army.  The Eagles were associated with the Sun and the Jaguars with the Earth and night.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Mictlantecuhtli, God of Death.

Ceramic sculpture representing Mictläntecuhtli, God of Death, conceived by the Aztecs as a half-gaunt being in a position of attack, with claws and curly hair, probably placed using the holes he has in his head. The liver hangs under his
thorax, because according to Aztec beliefs, this internal organ was closely related with Mictlan or the Underworld, place where this deity resided.  One of a pair from the reign of Montezuma I (1440-1469 A.D.).  The Aztecs used to offer blood to them.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

This is not a small piece in a display cabinet, this is massive, covering the central area of the ground floor, taken looking down from the second floor (third floor for Americans).

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Tlaloc Pot’

Ceramic pot modeled with a high relief figurehead of Tialoc’s face, the god of rain. The Aztecs conceived it formed by two serpents intertwined at the nose and joining their heads face to face at the mouth. in this case, such serpents can be seen through the bands with vertical lines and alternate circles located over the eyebrows, eyes, nose, and around the mouth. It belongs to Stage IV (1440-1469 A.D.).

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Stage II Chacmool.

Replica of the original chac mool located in front of Tlaloc’s temple corresponding to Stage II of the Templo Mayor (1375- 1427 A.D). Most of its attributes were modeled in stucco or outlined with black, white, blue, red and ocher paint; in addition, a mass of tar was adhered to its face simulating a rough nose. The same attires and insignias distinguishing this sculpture are the ones the god of rain has in the native pictographs in the Central region of Mexico.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Puma.

The puma (puma concolor) is one of the big cats with wide distribution in what is currently the Mexican Republic. In the past it was even in the temperate forests surrounding the basin of Mexico.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Chicomecoatl.

This ceramic vase shows an image of Chicomecoatl, the goddess of ripe com and of maintenance in general, and is decorated in a Cholula polychrome style.  She is characteristically depicted as attired in red with corn cobs in her hands.  The cover of the vase shows Tlaloc, god of the rain, pouring water.

The vase contained numerous stone objects: over three thousand beads, figurines and a mask covering them, which presumably surround the vase. It  dates to 1469-1481 AD.

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Tenochtitlan Today

Mexico City, Mexico, 24 August 2016

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

A model of the Plaza Mayor and Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan.  Behind it is an idealised painting by Luis Covarrubias (20th Century) of the cities of Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco on the island on Lake Texcoco.  The model is more realistic than the painting.

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Here we see a close-up of Templo Mayor.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

The temple was rebuilt seven times.  On each occasion, the old temple was completely covered in a casing of mud and stone, and a new temple constructed around it.  On five other occasions, only the main facade was expanded.  When each new building was opened, war captives from kingdoms conquered specifically the the event were sacrificed.

Also, the city suffered ongoing flood and earthquakes and the island subsoil was constantly settling, forcing them to raise the level of their pavements.

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Some of it is still there.  This massive serpent must be as shown at bottom right in the previous image of the model.  it dates to the reign of Axayacatl (1469-1481)..

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Likewise, this is probably the serpent head from the lower middle of the model.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

After the fall of Tenochtitlan in 1521, two conquistadors, the Avila brothers, built houses on the ruins.  However, in 1566. they were arrested for conspiring against the Spanish Crown, along with Martin Cortes, the half-indigenous son of Hernan Cortes.  The Avila brothers were executed but Cortes was merely exiled to Spain.  The property remained abandoned for many years and was used as a rubbish dump.  Much later, it was granted to a University but construction never acrually happened.  Consequently, more survives than one might think, especially in the middle of a huge city.

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This chac mool, still showing some of its original colouring, lay outside the entrace to a shrine to Tlaloc, the rain god.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

The next few images data to around 1500AD.

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Here you can see the different levels of pavement built up to counteract the sinking of the city.  This is of course a critical problem today, with the city subsiding 10 metres in the last century.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Banquette (bench) in the House of the Eagles.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Altar Tzompantli, alluding to Mictlampa, the region of the dead.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Somewhat like Venice, building foundations were made by driving stakes into the lake bed or the surface of the island, secured by stone and mud.

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The Cathedral is in the distance.

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Central Mexico City

Mexico City, Mexico, 22-24 August 2016

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Architecture, Art, Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacional de Arte, Palacio Nacional, Photography, Street photography, Travel

We were staying in the middle of Mexico City at the Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico (Grand Hotel of Mexico City) which is at the Zocalo, the central square of the city.  I was impressed by the French art nouveau styling and the stained glass canopy, created in 1908.

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On our first night it was raining and this was a view from the end of a corridor near our room.

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The Catedral Metropolitana, at the north end of the square, through the rain.

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After visiting Frida Kahlo’s house, we returned to the hotel and then set off for the Museo de Templo Mayor.  On the way, we walked across to the eastern side of the Zocalo and visited the Palacio Nacional.  It was originally the Palace of Montezuma II and Cortes rebuilt it as a fortress.  It was rebuilt again after it was burned in the Hunger Riots of 1692.  The Aztecs had a carefully planned system to divert spring water so that Tenochtitlan was surrounded by fresh spring water rather than turgid lake water.  That also made surrounding agricultural land highly productive.  The Spanish understood none of this and destroyed the canal system, undermining the local environment and ultimately leading to the hunger riots.

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This is Diego Rivera’s grand mural of Mexican history around the main staircase. You may need to click on it to see the detail, which includes representations of Frida Kahlo, Karl Marx and John D Rockefeller in the left panel.

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More murals by Diego Rivera, showing the pre-Columbian era and post-conquest.

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This series of murals was never finished.

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An internal courtyard showing the scale of the building.

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From the Palacio Nacional we walked through the colourful streets of Mexico City towards the Museo de Templo Mayor.

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Architecture, Art, Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacional de Arte, Palacio Nacional, Photography, Street photography, Travel

(The remains of the main temple of Tenochtitlan (the Templo Mayor) and our visit to the Museo de Templo Mayor follow in the next two posts).

 

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In the morning of our last day in Mexico City, we had time to visit the Museo Nacional de Arte.  You look up at this in the main hall.

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Looking up in one of the staircases, you see this much older spectacle.

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Frida Kahlo’s House

Mexico City, Mexico, 24 August 2016

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Frida Kahlo (self-portrait).

I presume that everyone reading this knows who Frida Kahlo was, but if you don’t or would like more information, have a look at this brief online biography.

These images are from a visit to the house that Frida grew up in, lived in for many years with Diego Rivera and died in.  It is now a museum.

..Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Puppet theatre near the front door.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Painting by Diego Rivera.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Frida Kahlo.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Bedroom of Leon Trotsky during his exile in Mexico and of Diego Rivera towards the end of his life in the house.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Dining room.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Same view, but a wider angle with a fisheye lens.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Staircase to the upper floor and recess with family portraits.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Frida’s Studio.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Frida’s bedroom.

An image I saw showed butterflies on the wall.  Perhaps they were removed because they were not there while she was alive.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Toys of Frida’s infancy.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Courtyard garden.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Extension designed by Diego Rivera.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Pyramid displaying pre-Hispanic pieces.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Dresses that she wore.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Jewellery and clothing items.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Dresses.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Undergarments.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Apparatus to hold her together.  She had polio at 6, suffered lielong severe back injury from a traffic accident when she was 18 and had a leg amputated due to gangrene a year before she died.

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Poem by Patti Smith.  Perhaps difficult for some to read so it goes:

Naguchi’s Butterflies

I can not walk

I can not see

further than what

is in front of me

I lay on my back

yet I do not cry

transported in space

by the butterflies.

 

Above my bed

Another sky

with the wings you sent

Within my sight

all pain dissolves

In another light

Transported thru

Time

by the butterfly

 

This little song came to me

like a little gift as I stood

beside the bed of Frida.

I give it to you

with much love,

Patti Smith

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Architecture, Art, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Travel

Meso-American assemblage in the courtyard.

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Toltecs, Mayans and Aztecs

Mexico City, Mexico, 23 August 2016

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Part 2 of a visit to Museo Nacionale de Antropologia ..

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Mayans and Toltecs

The classic Maya period was 250 to 950AD and they had a remarkable density of settlement, mainly in the jungles of Guatemala and Belize. There was a collapse of those settlements and from 950 to 1520AD, the Mayans survived in the Yucatan, drawing their water from cenotes.

The Toltecs were originally “barbarians” from the north and rose after the fall of Teotihuacan, 900-1200AD, absorbing some of the survivors after the fall of Teotihuacan. Perhaps they were also responsible for the fall of Teotihuacan because no-one seems to know who caused that. After 1000AD there was also an invasion of the Mayans in the Yucatan, particularly Chichen Itza, so that the Yucatan became a Maya/ Toltec civiisation.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Lintel 26 of Yaxchilan, Chiapas.

Pert of a series including lintels 23,24 and 25 of the same building. They include events from the life of the ruler Its Balam (II), “Wise Jaguar” of Yaxchilan, over 46 years of Government. He was enthroned on October 20 of 681 A.D. and the lintel dates from February 8 724 AD, Late Classic era, Mayan Date 9.14.12.6.12, 2.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Stela 51 from Calakmol, Campeche

A ruler carrying a spear and warrior bag is standing on a captive.  The stela also bears the signature of Yu Xul, sculptor-polisher. It states that the ruler and the sculptor held a ritual to invoke the snake of the apparitions in the mountains. The text refers to the pyramid where the stela was found, representing the mountain, meeting place with the ancestors.  29 July 731AD, Late Classic period (600-800AD).

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Stela 18 of Yaxchilan, Chiapas.

This Stela recalls the capture of Lord of Lacanjá by Lord of Yaxchilan. It speaks also of rituals and sacrifices in honor of deities and ancestors. 23 July 677AD, Late Classic period (600-800AD).
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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Ballcourt marker.

This disk shows the figure of a ball player, hip-kicking a large ball.  He has a wide belt and protectors on the elbow and knee. There are glyphs on the sides and on the ball, and in the outer band. a band of hieroglyphic that reads the date 9.7.17.12.14.11, 11 1×7 Zotz.  591 AD, Early Classic period.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Stuccoed Frieze (fragment).

This frieze was detached from the façade of a temple by looters. The fragment shows a young ruler flanked by old deities. This frieze appears to lack the face of another character and another deity, representing the change of power between two rulers. represented alternating between three gods. Each god sat above a temple door.  Placeres, Campeche, Early Classical period (250-600AD).

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Chac-mool.

This character, whose name means Red Claw, was a Messenger or an intermediary between man and the gods, responsible for carrying to the deities offerings placed in the abdominal cavity. As well as the Atlanteans, this figure shows a combination of traits of several Mesoamerican cultures.  Chichen Itza, Yucatan, early PostClassical period (900-1250AD).

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Pakal the Great, as he was in his tomb at Palenque (see also next two images and museum comments).

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

The Tomb of Pakal the Great

The funerary crypt of Pakal was deep within the pyramid of the Temple of the Inscriptions. This reproduction shows details visible when it was first discovered in 1952 by Dr. Alberto Ruz, but lost today due to the perspiration and body heat of millions of visitors.  Access to the original monument is now restricted.

The sarcophagus, which rests on four supports, and the lid were carved from an enormous block of stone.  Due to its weight and dimensions, it must have been made before the pyramid was built. The relief on the lid shows Pakal as a vigorous adult, falling into the jaws of the White Bone Serpent, one of the entrances to the underworld. Behind him, a cross represents the sacred ceiba tree at the center of the world, with its roots in the underworld. Itzam Yeh, the celestial bird who accompanies the god Itzamnaaj, perches on the treetop, which reaches the celestial levels.

The inscription on the edge of the lid records the death date of eight generations of rulers preceding Pakal, from AD 514 to 643, the year in which his father dies. The date in front refers to his birth in 603 and his death in 683, and says that he was the son of Na Sak K’ uk’ (Lady White Quetzal) and K’uni Mo Hix (Precious Macaw Jaguar). The former rulers portrayed on the sides of the sarcophogus emerge from cracks in the earth together with a tree, indicating their transformation from venerated ancestors and the ongoing regeneration of life.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

The stucco figures on the wall bear staffs with the image of K’ aviil, patron deity of royalty and rulers. which suggests that they might represent the nine Palenque rulers prior to Pakul. However. they could also he the Nine Lords of the Night. deities reigning over the underworld in the Popul Vuh, or warriors protecting the deceased.

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Aztecs

Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Ballcourt rings.  A bit like basketball hoops perhaps.

The rise of the Aztecs followed the decline of the Toltec capital of Tula and featured militarism in all aspects of life.  The capital city, Tenochtitlan, was founded in 1325 and it came to dominate surrounding peoples.  The main gods were the patrons of military conquests; the most important ceremonies revolved around the capture of prisoners, and human sacrifice took on a central role in daily rituals.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

The Tlatoani, or Supreme ruler, wore a large plume of quetzal feathers on special occasions in honour of the god Quetzocoatl. This is a replica made in 1940 with pure gold inlays and green feathers of the quetzal and turquoise blue feathers of the blue grosbeak.
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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Pages from a codex with Spanish annotation – so, post-conquest.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Xolotl

Xolotl is the twin of Quetzalcoatl , a god in the shape of a dog (and they didn’t even have the letters to reverse).  In order to create man, Quetzalcoatl traveled to the underworld to search for the bones of the ancestral generations, taking the form of a dog.  Xolotl is the god of monstrosities and the patron of twins and animals that undergo transformations such as tadpoles that turn into frogs.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

La Piedra del Sol (Sun Stone or Aztec Calendar)

The Prehispanic peoples saw the light and warmth of the Sun as equal to Life itself. Therefore their creation myths saw in its presence and absence, the precarious nature of Life and the need for men to help maintain the Sun as the supreme deity.

The creation myth explains how gods created suns to rule the different stages of life. The first Sun was earthly, its patron Tezcatlipoca, and its signs the jaguar and darkness. The second Sun was created by Quetzalcoatl, the wind being its nature. Tlaloc made the third Sun, as a rain of fire, and Chalchiuhtlicue made the fourth sun, the water Sun. All of them were created and destroyed by the essence of their nature.

The gods Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc Chalchiuhtlicue  created  earth, wind, fire and water.  Then it was the turn of Nanahuatzin and Tecucistecatl, who became the Sun and Moon respectively. For this to happen, both gods had to set themselves on fire. That is why when man was created, he had to repay the gods with his own blood and that of his enemies.

(After the conquest , it thus aided the spread of Christianity that the new god had sacrificed himself for mankind, instead of a requirement the other way around.)

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

A small modelled Aztec marketplace…

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

(I don’t have any notes for the last three images).

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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