Angulo V., Jorge. The Chalcatzingo reliefs: an iconographic analysis

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Publication Information

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Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: The Chalcatzingo reliefs: an iconographic analysis

Published in: if part or section of a book or monograph Ancient Chalcatzingo, edited by David C. Grove

Published By: Original publisher Ancient Chalcatzingo, edited by David C. Grove Austin: University of Texas Press. 1987. 132-158 p. ill.

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Jorge Angulo V. ; TAKUHóN illustrations by Chappie Angulo

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2000. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Olmec (NU95)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Visual arts (5311); Ethnozoology (825); Ethnometeorology (821); Mnemonic devices (211); Comparative evidence (171);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document Angulo tackles the iconography of the carved stone monuments at the highland site of Chalcatzingo, taking a direct historical approach that, in this case, follows the 'Mother Culture' hypothesis that subsequent Mesoamerican symbolism and beliefs had their origins in Olmec culture emanating from the Gulf Coast core area. Carvings on rock outcroppings and boulders that portray mythical-religious themes emphasizing zoomorphic representations probably pertain to the Middle Formative period. Stelae that feature important persons, ritual events and even texts were placed on man-made terraces and may be Late Formative period in date. Analysis emphasizes motifs rather than overall composition, although motifs tend to be repetitive within the monument groups defined in Grove: 1987 (Document 12). A unifying theme in one group is taken to be related to the seasonality of rain critical to agricultural production, with cosmological and meteorological phenomena represented by animal figures that also could have been totems of clans participating in ritual cycles at the site. Another group is interpreted as representing a mythological cycle involving feline avatars, hero twins, Venus, the death and rebirth of the sun in its daily circuit through a watery underworld, and the possible sacrifice of war captives to perpetuate the cosmos; precursors of common themes in later Mesoamerican myth and ritual. A small number of carvings likely depict the ball game, with its ritual paraphernalia and cosmographic references. Stelae with possible rudimentary glyphs may depict actual important people and events, and a fragment may carry calendar glyphs with a Middle Formative period date. Defaced artwork is interpreted as a ritual symbolizing the release of the soul of the deceased person to which they pertained; stone monuments in the case of elites and ceramic figurines for commoners. The work concludes with a general synthesis of native Mesoamerican philosophical and religious beliefs not necessarily confined to the Olmec-influenced culture at Chalcatzingo, but that may have originated with (or at least been systematized by) the Olmec, transformed at the time of their decline and disappearance in the Late Formative period into mass public ceremony with more overt emphasis on temporal power.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 13

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. nu95-013

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Essay

Language: Language that the document is written in English; Summary in Spanish

Note: For bibliographical references see Grove: 1987 (Document 3)

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1972-1976

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Archaeologist-4,5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. Leon G. Doyon ; 2007

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 3100 BP-2500 BP.

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Chalcatzingo, Morelos State, Mexico

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Olmecs


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