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Title: ARCHITECTURE OF MESOAMERICA


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ARCHITECTURE OF MESOAMERICA
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Cultures of the Americas Olmec (1500 BCE-300
CE) Maya (300 BCE-900 CE) Teotihuacan (200
BCE700 CE) Aztec (1200-1500 CE) Inca (1100-1532
CE)
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Shared aspects of the ancient American
civilizations gtSocial system ruler-priest
relationship gtSocial hierarchies gtWarfare and
bloodletting gtReligion rulers, priests and
shamans, gtGods of natural phenomenon gtEarliest
evidence of feathered serpent and rain
spirit gtSacred geography, sacred time
gtMathematics gtCalendrical observation gtHuman
sacrificial ritual gtRitual ball game gtWriting
hieroglyphic form gtUrban culture Making of
cities gtTemple-Palace complex as ceremonial
centers gtArchitecture of pyramids and
platforms
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Shamanic ritual The jaguar form
Stela art
Rituals of offerings
Sacrificial accounting
Rain god Chac
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Architectural themes sacred geography pyramid-te
mple monumental form
Great Temple, Tinochtitlan
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OLMEC (MEXICO) 1500 BCE-300 CE
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TEOTIHUACAN (MEXICO) THE CITY OF THE GODS 150
BCE-750 CE
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Teotihuacan City as ritual center Cosmic
geography of the city masterful arrangement of
buildings in landscape Complementarity of temple
and mountain Images of benevolent deities
Feathered Serpent (Quetzalcoatl) Art shows themes
of nature, fertility, war, and sacrifice Organized
city First metropolis in Mesoamerica built on
a grid plan At peak in 6th c. CE, population
was 200,000
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Avenue of the Dead, Teotihuacan
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The Cerro Gorod Mountain Mountain as
sacred. Center of the world axis mundi. Source
of sustenance because source of water. Symbolize
water and fertility. The temple-form is a
reconstruction of the mountain ideals. Embedded
in nature and integral to it But also helps
nature along through the power Of ceremonies,
especially human sacrifice. Temple of the Sun
had caves and a spring underneath.
Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan
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An architectural language of pyramids and
platforms
Pyramid of the Moon, Teotihuacan
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Temple of Quetzalcoatl the Feathered Serpent
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Feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl Complementarit
y between mountain and sky through serpent
symbolizing water from earth (Quetzalcoatl) and
dragon water from sky (Chac or Tlaloc) Talud-tab
lero construction Talud is the sloping
base Tablero is the vertical frame
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Representation of bloodletting ritual
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MAYA CIVILIZATION gtCity-state formation, social
locus is city gtAgricultural production gtDensely
populated cities gtDisperse collection of
dwellings around palace and temple
complex. gtRoyalty important gtMain monumental
spaces (plazas) around the royal spaces,
forming sites of ceremonial centers gtRituals
Ballgames, bloodletting, and human
sacrifice gtRtuals based on cyclical basis of
nature gtSophisticated calenderical
measurement gtAstronomical observation gtMathematics
and concept of zero gtHieroglyphic Writing
gtSophisticated art documentation in
stelae gtMonumental architecture gtLanguage of
pyramids and platforms
Stelae from Palenque.
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Architecture Ceremonial centers
(acropolis) Massive, ceremonial
platforms Free-standing pyramids and temples Tomb
pyramids Palaces and galleried structures Observat
ories and ball courts Elevated roads and
causeways
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Great Plaza and Temple 1, Tikal
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Plan of Tikal
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Temple of Jaguar and Temple of Mask, Tikal
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Palenque (Mexico)
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Temple of Cross, Palenque
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Tomb of Inscriptions, Palenque
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Tomb of Inscriptions (Tomb-Pyramid of Pakal)
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Palace, Observatory, and Tomb
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Palace of Lord Pakal
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Sarcophagus of Pakal
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Chichenitza (Yucatan, Mexico)
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Temple of the Warriors
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Observatory
Nunnery Corbelled arch, Uxmal
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Snake Pyramid, Kukulkan
Pyramid, Uxmal
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AZTECS
Tenochtitlan, a monumental urban plan
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City founded based on a myth of god
Huitzilopochtli On an island on Lake
Texcoco Divided into four quadrants Connected to
main land by causeways Central area marked by
main temple and plaza
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Advanced community Mandatory education Rich
mythology Farming techniques of floating
farms Sewage disposal in planned way Fresh water
brought in through aqueducts
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Twin temples War god (human activity) and rain
god (natural phenomenon)
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Temple as site of sacrificial rituals
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INCAS
Machu Picchu (Peru) City located 8000 ft. on a
mountain ridge Constructed around 1450 CE At
height of Inca empire Site of temples,
sanctuaries and residences. Construction of
dry-stone walls of fine regular
shape. Irrigational canals and fountains provided
water.
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Intihuatana stone, an astronomical clock
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