Obras Maestras del Templo Mayor

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Author: Matos Moctezuma, Eduardo (1940- )

Year: 1988

Publisher: Fomento Cultural Banamex

Place: Mexico City

Description:

xviii+182 pages with 4 frontispieces, site plans, photographs, figures, bibliography and indexes. Folio (11 3/4" x 1 1/4") bound in red cloth with gilt lettering to spine and front cover. Photographs by Michel Zabe. First edition limited to 15,000 copies.

The Templo Mayor[1] was one of the main temples of the Aztecs in their capital city of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City. Its architectural style belongs to the late Postclassic period of Mesoamerica. The temple was called the huei teocalli in the Nahuatl language and dedicated simultaneously to two gods, Huitzilopochtli, god of war and Tlaloc, god of rain and agriculture, each of which had a shrine at the top of the pyramid with separate staircases. The temple, measuring approximately 100 by 80 m (328 by 262 ft) at its base, dominated a Sacred Precinct. Construction of the first temple began sometime after 1325, and it was rebuilt six times after that. The temple was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521. The modern-day archeological site lies just to the northeast of the Zocalo, or main plaza of Mexico City, on the corner of what are now Seminario and Justo Sierra streets. After the destruction of Tenochtitlan, the Templo Mayor, like most of the rest of the city, was taken apart and then covered over by the new Spanish colonial city. The Temple�s exact location was forgotten, although by the 20th century scholars had a good idea where to look for it. This was based on the archeological work done at the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th. Leopoldo Batres did some excavation work at the end of the 19th century under the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral because at this time, the temple was thought to be there. In the first decades of the 20th century, Manuel Gamio found part of the southwest corner of the temple and his finds were put on public display. However, it did not generate great public interest in excavating further as the zone was an upper-class residential area. In 1933, Emilio Cuevas found part of a staircase and beam. In 1948, Hugo Moedano and Elma Estrada Balmori excavated a platform containing serpent heads and offerings. In 1966, Eduardo Contreras and Jorge Angula excavated a chest containing offerings that was first explored by Gamio.However, the push to fully excavate the site did not come until late in the 20th century. In 1978, workers for the electric company were digging at a place in the city then popularly known as the "island of the dogs." It was named such because it was slightly elevated over the rest of the neighborhood and when there was flooding, street dogs would congregate there. At just over two meters down they struck a pre-Hispanic monolith. This stone turned out to be a huge disk of over 10.7 feet in diameter, 11.8 inches thick and weighing 8.5 metric tons . The relief on the stone was later determined to be Coyolxauhqui, the moon goddess, dating to the end of the 15th century. From 1978 to 1982, specialists directed by archeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma worked on the project to excavate the Temple. Initial excavations found that many of the artifacts were in good enough condition to study. Efforts coalesced into the Templo Mayor Project, which was authorized by presidential decree. To excavate, thirteen buildings in this area had to be demolished. Nine of these were built in the 1930s and four dated from the 19th century, and had preserved colonial elements. During excavations, more than 7,000 objects were found, mostly offerings including effigies, clay pots in the image of Tlaloc, skeletons of turtles, frogs, crocodiles, and fish, snail shells, coral, some gold, alabaster, Mixtec figurines, ceramic urns from Veracruz, masks from what is now Guerrero state, copper rattles, decorated skulls and knives of obsidian and flint. These objects are housed in the Templo Mayor Museum. This museum is the result of the work done since the early 1980s to rescue, preserve and research the Templo Mayor, its Sacred Precinct and all objects associated with it.

Condition:

Corners bumped. Jacket with light edge war and some small closed edge tears else a very good copy in a very good to fine jacket.

SOLD 2020

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