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Tuesday, March 31 • 2:55pm - Saturday, March 15 • 3:10pm
Caitlin Murphy: Ritual and Power Iconography in the Central Mexican Murals of Oxtotitlan

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The murals of Oxtotitlan are some of the most exquisite examples of Olmec art in Mesoamerica. Not only are the murals visually pleasing, I posit that they display the importance of ritual, cosmology, and power in Olmec society. Current scholarship identifies the imagery in many of the paintings as addressing ritual worship in hopes of rain and fertility. I agree with this stance and would further add that some of the imagery indicates power of the rulers and elite of society. The presence of references to the rain god Tlaloc and other typical images of rain and fertility coexist alongside images of what appear to be rulers, which I argue indicate an importance and emphasis on power in society. The imagery is not only present in the ever-popular Central Group murals of Oxtotitlan but also extends to both the North and South Grottos and to other sites including those of Juxtlahuaca and Cacahuaziziqui. In concurrence with this idea, I believe the paintings of Juxtlahuaca and Cacahuaziziqui also display images relating to the importance of cosmology and ritual worship in terms of rain and fertility, but most prominently, they display imagery indicative of a powerful ruling class. By analyzing the paintings of the three sites and the scholarly literature available, I conclude that the paintings display the prominence of ritual, cosmology, and power in the collective culture of the Olmec. This influenced later traditions, as the Olmec are arguably the foundation of the great cultures that would later arise in Mesoamerica.

Speakers

Tuesday March 31, 2015 2:55pm - Saturday March 15, 2031 3:10pm EDT
Civic Center - Meeting Room B - Ground Floor 505 West Pensacola Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301