Average temperature for the year is 35 °C with hurricanes possible from June to October. Archeologists reassembled it at the spot in which it was found. UNESCO World Heritage Site (El Tajin, Pre-Hispanic City, unique to a cultural tradition, World Heritage criterion section (iv), 1992–) Cultural property under special protection (2015–) Area: 240 ha (UNESCO World Heritage Site) ... South Ball Court, Tajín (17 F) T El Tajin became one of the most significant centers in Mesoamerica during the Pre- Columbian era around 6001100 CE. It has become the focus of the site because of its unusual design and good state of preservation. The alley is framed by structures 17 and 27. It has been suggested that the buildings were filled with earth to support the roof as it was being poured and dried.  The borders of the city's residential areas have not yet been defined but is the entire site is estimated at 2,640 acres (10.7 km2). The Cumbre Tajin is considered to be an identity festival of the Totonacs, who are considered to be the guardians of El Tajín. It had been thrown down from the top of the pyramid in ancient times and broken. The entrance is on the south side of the building and is quite elaborate. These columns were thickened over time as it became apparent to have stronger bracing for the weight of the two floors. 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. The liquid is protected by a reclining chacmool, who is speaking. It hosts fairs, conventions and other events, including part of the annual Cumbre Tajín cultural festival which is held in March. , Just east of Tajin Chico is an area of valley floor. The site boasts many buildings, temples, palaces and ball courts, but the most impressive of all is the stunning Pyramid of the Niches. The figure on the right holds a large knife which is at the center figure's neck. Is missing the middle part of the structure, which is a large chunk. The columns carry relief carvings which narrate scenes from the life of probably El Tajin’s last ruler, 13 Rabbit.  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. The rain god is shown in a rite of auto sacrifice running a spike through part of his penis. The south end of the ballcourt, however, is defined by Building 16, an early version of the Pyramid of the Niches. , The South Ballcourt, like the North Ball court, has only vertical walls which are sculpted. https://www.ancient.eu/El_Tajin/. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. Except for six benches on the staircase and at the top of the balustrades, probably later additions, there are no niches. , 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. 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. It covers 17 hectares with a capacity of 40,000 people. It is an immense acropolis composed of numerous palaces and other civil structures. El Tajin South Ballcourt : Click on the pictures Building 5 in the background. The deteriorated north central panel shows two cross-legged figures facing each other. This vast site is located along the northern Gulf Coast of Mexico. by Estudio de ArquepoÃ©tica y VisualÃstica Prospectiva (CC BY-NC-SA). 13 Rabbit's name glyph appears above as well as an attendant named 4 Axe. The small buildings that surround this pyramid are meant to complement it. South ballcourt, ballplayer (carving) in ‘underground temple’ El Tajín had only one period of occupation lasting from 800 to 1200 AD and was inhabited by about 15.000 - 20.000 people. 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. It is located at the northwest corner of the Great Xicalcoluihqui and at the base of Tajin Chico. He claimed the natives had kept the place secret. 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. 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. 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. PAGE 122 122 Figure 67. Six narrative panels relating a ballgame myth or story What was the frequent subject of the ballgame at El Tajin? Depicts a person wearing ball game clothing.  The city began to have extensive influence starting around this time, which can be best seen at the neighboring site of Yohualichan, whose buildings show the kinds of niches that define El Tajin. , The Cumbre Tajin is an annual artistic and cultural festival which is held at the site in March.  The upper level contains a corridor that goes all the way around and a number of rooms. There are several architectural features here which are unique to the place or seen in only rarely in Mesoamerica.  Total site extends for 1,056 hectares (4.08 sq mi). At the top, there the temple was located, is a series of stepped merlons which look like medieval European battlements. Spectators could watch events from Building 5 to the north and Building 6 to the south as well as from stands built on one side of the court. The court bears the most beautiful decoration found on this type of building, with six sculpted panels running along the walls which describe several stages in these ceremonial games.  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. examples of this posture are presented from the Gulf Coast site of El Tajin where squatting figures are associated with the rain god specifically and with the themes of ballgame sacrifice and regeneration in general. It is part of one of the last building complexes built at El Tajín. It has stairways on both the east and west sides that lead to the top of the second level. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. tares of architectonic buildings, El Tajin was the pre-Hispanic ceremonial center with ... Geometric pattern, south central panel/south ballcourt, El Tajín, México. Classic period, circa 500 - 900. Then the surface of the columns was sculpted with scenes celebrating a ruler named 13 Rabbit, who probably had this structure built. Once again, architectural decoration on several Tajin Chico structures often remind of a Maya influence, this time from Uxmal. The snakes represent the ball game marker called the tlaxmalacatle in Aztec times. , Building A has two levels, stepped frets and niches and is reminiscent of structures found in the Yucatán. To further this effect, the inside of the frets were painted dark red and the exterior portion light blue, similar to turquoise. , One notable aspect of the construction at El Tajin is the use of poured cement in forms. A part of the Veracruz culture, the city’s architecture also displays both Maya and Oaxacan influences, while the most famous monument at El Tajin is the splendid Early Classic temple known as the Pyramid of the Niches. The lower level is adorned with large rectangular panels which appear to have been painted red. 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. 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. , Its significance is due to its size and unique forms of art and architecture. These fields not only produced staples such as corn and beans but luxury items such as cacao. , 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. The court has a general east-west alignment and is 198 feet (60 m) long and 34.5 feet (10.5 m) wide. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. Deeper excavation found an older, damaged structure which was covered over by the visible structure. 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. In El Tajin, from Late Classic Period AD 650 - AD 1000. One tells the story of 13 Rabbit, a ruler of El Tajin who probably had the building constructed. 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. 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. For five days, voladores from various places perform at the poles erected at the site. The other structure on this platform is called the Annex or the Building of the Tunnels, as it is connected to the Building of the Columns by a passageway. Overlooking this scene is the death deity who rises from a vat of liquid, perhaps pulque. El Tajin is a Mesoamerican archaeological site located in the North of the state of Veracruz, near the Gulf Coast of Mexico. The first is the Great Xicalcoluihqui, or the Great Enclosure. , The entrance to the site is located at the south end. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. The upper level was adorned with stepped frets and scrolls as well. This building is thought to the last built with niches. Books Web. , El Tajín was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1992, because of its historical significance and architecture and engineering. 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. The northwest panel shows the beginning of the ballgame. El Tajin is located near the coast of eastern Mexico and was an important Mesoamerican centre which flourished between 900 and 1100 CE. Between them are intertwined slashes, the symbol of the ballgame and a ball. It is unknown if the similarity between this building and the Pyramid of the Niches indicates a relationship between the two. There is a popular belief that each niche contained an idol or effigy but archeological work here has ruled this out. The stairs are made from a mixture of lime, sand and clay without a stone core. The false stairs were originally adorned with scroll motifs done in blue and yellow paint, but very little remains. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. The cement could not be poured all at once but rather in successive layers. "El Tajin." José García Payón, who followed Spinden and who for over three decades was the head archaeologist at El Tajín, was especially intrigued by the iconography of the South Ballcourt panels. The objective is not only to see the different costumes and styles of the groups but to share experiences about the fertility ritual. The interior of the building is composed of loose stone, mostly rounded river boulders. Related Content He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. Built by three large flagstone layers, this ballcourt features an ornamental fresco and six carved panels depicting ritual scenes. El Tajin contains many large buildings erected on the artificially terraced ridge sides ascending from the small stream that drains the area. The four panels at the end depict scenes related to the ball game ritual.  In 2008, 160,000 attended the event which featured Fito Páez, Ximena Sariñana and Los Tigres del Norte. Two have been partially explored. , Building 3 or the Blue Temple has some features that set it apart from other pyramids at the site. , The Building of the Columns dominates the highest portion of Tajin Chico. The top of the pyramid contains two platforms, both of which are decorated with stepped frets. To lighten the load and to bind the layers of cement, pumice stones and pottery shards were mixed into the cement. One of the most interesting objects on display is an altar from Building 4. The early centuries at the site show evidence of influence from Teotihuacan both in pottery and architecture, notably with the first stepped pyramids. 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. Vertical surfaces are less common, but they begin to replace the sloping apron during the Classic era, and are a feature of several of the largest and best-known ballcourts, including the Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza and the North and South Ballcourts at El Tajin. Most of the remains of these columns are on display at the site museum. , The Cumbre Tajín has been criticized for its emphasis on modern shows rather than on cultural events. , The park is named Parque Takilhsukut and is located about one km outside the site proper. View Notes - ARTH 250 - Lecture 8 from ARTH 250 at University of Maryland.  The upper story is reached by narrow stairway. The structure originally was covered in stucco which served as the base for paint. Ballcourt at El Tajin. One has survived mostly intact and is now in the site museum.  Evidence of the city's influence can be seen along the Veracruz Gulf coast to the Maya region and into the high plateau of central Mexico. From the early 7th century CE, El Tajin began to conquer the smaller surrounding settlements to establish itself as the dominant force in the area. In the center are two intertwined serpents which seem to form the shape of a tlaxmalactl or ball game marker. Totonac. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/El_Tajin/. The three figures are all dressed in the garments and symbols of the ballgame. The divider in the center is a buttress to hold the fill behind the stairs in place. 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. The arms are holding a serpent like form and the body contains scrolls, which may signify sacrificial blood. , This is called the Arroyo Group because two streams surround it on three sides. Ancient History Encyclopedia.  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 pyramid has six platforms, is 20 metres high, whilst each side is 26 metres wide. The larger tablets have depictions of the rain god, or a ruler dressed as the deity, involved in several ritual or mythological scenes. A richly decorated stairway leads to a small structure on the top platform. The stones are arranged in controlled lines and delicate proportions. Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents: The Public Sculpture of El Tajín... Sacrificios de sangre:: conductas rituales e inhumaciones en la civilización... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Off the stairs and leading east from the pyramid are large round stone with holes in the middle, in which were probably placed banners. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. This space is broken by six stone and cement pillars which support the floor above. The facade depicts a false stairway and balustrades of stepped frets capped by niches.  The pace of this societal progression became more rapid with the rise of the neighboring Olmec civilization around 1150 BCE, although the Olmecs were never here in great numbers. , 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 finished roofs were nearly a meter thick and almost perfectly flat. 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. The columns were made by stacking circles cut from flagstone. The site boasts several other important pyramids, monumental platforms, and 17 ballcourts, justifying its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. , 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. , Sculpture from the temple is largely fragmentary.  Most of the population lived in the hills surrounding the main city, and the city obtained most of its foodstuffs from the Tecolutla, Nautla and Cazones areas. Ancient History Encyclopedia. From the early centuries, objects from Teotihuacan are abundant. Northeast mural portraying human sacrifice. Many have feathered headdresses and reptilian attributes and a few are human like. Each year since 1992, the number of visitors to the site increases which now stands at 653,000 annually. Access to the top of the pyramid, where the temple once stood, is via a double staircase on the east side. Behind these buildings is a large plaza with small low structures on its edges. The panels on the ends show scenes from the ballgame itself and the center panels show responses from the gods. 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. At the center of the scene is a temple with the rain and wind gods seated on top and a vat of liquid within. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 27 Jan 2015. It was prominent in ancient times as well. This paper proposes a case-sample analysis of the bas-reliefs in the South Ballcourt based on reticular geometry and fractal dimension analysis. 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. It controlled the flow of commodities, both exports such as vanilla and imports from other locations in what is now Mexico and Central America. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. One holds a large knife in his left hand and gestures with his right. , Tajin Chico is a multilevel portion of the site that stretches north-northwest from the older parts of the city up a hill. , Just south of Buildings 3 and 23 is Building 15, which is only partially excavated. An athletic event, gambling purposes, gladiatorial contests, or ritual sacrifice purposes Caves, especially those with springs, have been considered sacred in much of Mexico with offerings of flowers and candles being traditional. 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. This ball court forms a long rectangle bordered to the south by a large building which acted as a tribune, with the platform of building 5 marking the northern end. In addition, El Tajin displays advanced construction techniques as many structures have concrete slab roofs, the liquid concrete having been poured over wooden frames.  From 1984 to 1994, Jürgen K. Brüggemann built on the work of García Payón, uncovering 35 more buildings. It is thought to symbolize lightning and while it is common in Mesoamerica, it is a very prominent motif here. Taube believes that the temple located on the left of the image represents Teotihuacan, with the mountain Cerro Gordo in the background. The stairway to the temple is adorned on the sides with frets, which are called xicalcoliuhqui. Last modified January 27, 2015. , Portions of the panels and friezes are worn to the point that large areas are incomplete. , The southeast panel illustrates the opening ritual when the principal participant is elaborately dressed and is being handed a bundle of spears. The figure seems to be an allegorical representation of a seated figure with a severed upper torso and a skull for a head. These frets were probably painted blue as they were on other buildings, where remains of paint have been found. Under the fourth panel, an older panel was found. 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.  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. On one level, García Payón largely accepted Spinden's hypothesis that the panels represent the initiation of a warrior. In the 8th century CE, the Pyramid of the Niches was completed and the huge raised acropolis platform of Tajin Chico was constructed. It is a large stone slab sculpted to depict four individuals standing in pairs with a figure of intertwined snakes between the two pairs. 121 Figure 66. In 1935-38 the first formal mapping, clearing and exploration was done by Agustin Garcia Vega. Veracruz. This stone carving from the South Ballcourt at the archaeological site of El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico.  It reached its apogee in the Epi-Classic (900-1100 CE) before suffering destruction and the encroachment of the jungle. The deep niches imitate caves, which long have been considered to be passageways to the underworld, where many of the gods reside. Cartwright, Mark. El Tajin Map Plaza del Arroyo Pyramid of the Niches  In ancient times, this city was located in the northeast corner of what is called Mesoamerica, and controlled an area from between the Cazones and Tecolutla Rivers to the modern state of Puebla. Relief from the south ball court at El Tajin, panel 6. , When it was rediscovered by officialdom in 1785, the site was known to the local Totonac, whose ancestors may also have built the city, as El Tajín, which was said to mean “of thunder or lightning bolt”. Dating to between 700 and 900 CE, four of the six relief panels (each composed of several slabs) have a large skeleton figure rising from a pot on their left sides.  The main city is defined by two streams which merge to form the Tlahuanapa Arroyo, a tributary of the Tecolutla River. Photographed by Ileana Olmos. His drawings and descriptions were published in a book named Voyage pittoresque et archéologique published in Paris in 1836. License. Written by Mark Cartwright, published on 27 January 2015 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. One of the panels at the Pyramid of the Niches shows a ceremony being held at a cacao tree. The central panels depict the gods responding or performing a ritual of their own. Undoubtedly then, the structure had some connection with the solar year. The niches on the original structure, not counting those on the later stairway, total 365, the solar year. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. The scene shows as dual procession with 13 Rabbit seated on a wooden throne and his feet on a severed head. Late Classical/Early Postclassic Period 900-1200 CE. Tlaloc imagery in Classic Maya art is related to blood sacrifice as a complex, which includes both ritual warfare and autosacrifice. However, there are no records by any Europeans about the place prior to the late 18th century. There are also facilities for workshops, exhibitions, alternative therapies, seminars and ceremonies. 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. The principal participant is supine on a kind of a sofa. The site museum is also located here. Ballcourt located northeast of the Plaza del Arroyo, El Tajin site. This structure also had a cement roof, which was arched in the “porch” area between the columns and the inner rooms. A skeletal figure rises from a … The Pyramid of the Sun is further associated with the fish-men myth in Panel 5 at the South Ballcourt in El Tajín (Fig. While located next to the Pyramid of the Niches, its visual appeal is not lost to its more famous neighbor. With the discovery of oil in the area came roads that were built and improved from the 1920s to the 1940s. At the center of the false stairway are true stairs leading upwards under an arch to the first level of the palace.  Tajin Chico is so named because it was initially thought to be a separate but related site.  (wikerson45) Another feature unique to El Tajin is that a number of the residences have windows placed to allow cool breezes to enter on hot days. , This pyramid has as a number of names, including El Tajín, Pyramid of Papantla, Pyramid of the Seven Stories and the Temple of the Niches. Ballplayers from Guerrero, Mexico. , The pyramid has seven stories. Two participants are standing in the center of the court with speech scrolls emerging from their mouths.  Many of the cultural, craft and gastronomic events occur at the adjacent Parque Takilhsukut which just located just outside the archeological site. Ballcourt at Chichen Itza, Yucatan. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The first building to be completely cleared of jungle growth was the Pyramid of the Niches.  The site has no major settlements located next to it. Some of the events include musical concerts, experiencing a temazcal, theatrical events and visiting El Tajin at night, with a total over 5,000 activities. We offer many custom color finishes like Silver Leaf, Bronze, Most of the buildings are at the southern end, where the land is relatively flat and the two streams converge. There are relatively few temples here. Yet the city’s singularity as the only center in the region with such a wealth of sculpture and fine architecture has hindered a… The other structure is the Great Ballcourt, the largest court at El Tajin. Pyramid of the Niches . At the top of the pyramid there were tablets framed by grotesque serpent-dragons. 22 Jan 2021. The original staircase was destroyed then reworked into its present form.  These two streams provided the population's potable water. 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