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Murals at Atetelco Reveal Alliance Between Copan and Teotihuacan
Mural painting in Atetelco, Teotihuacan. Photo: Mauricio Marat/INAH.

MEXICO CITY.- Scenes from Atetelco mural painting could confirm there was an alliance with Maya dynasties to fund probably Copan city in what today is Honduras, according to art historian Maria Teresa Uriarte, who informed this at her intervention in the Teotihuacan conference series in the National Museum of Anthropology (MNA). At the eastern building of the residential zone, the Feathered Coyote and Reticulated Jaguar representations surrounded by an allegoric serpent, would symbolize the union of both civilizations. This relation is supported by recent archaeological findings in Copan.

The doctor from National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Institute of Esthetic Investigations that also leads the Prehispanic Mural Painting in Mexico Project, explained that the image could be iconographically interpreted as follows:

“The serpent behaves in a transcendental way, according to the Teotihuacan painter: Serpents coil up to mate, so it is the symbol of Feathered Coyote and Reticulated Jaguar mating. The scene represents the union of both dynasties”.

There is a Maya glyph on the serpent that means “city”, an element that has been found in other Teotihuacan murals, such as those found at Tepantitla.

“I think this is related to the foundation of a new “tollan” or city, maybe Copan with its Teotihuacan origin dynasty, that will be remembered for centuries”, mentioned the academic at the “Teotihuacan, Identity and Heritage of Mexico” conference series, as part of the 70th anniversary of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) celebrations.

Ricardo Argucia, responsible of archaeological work at Copan Archaeological Zone in Honduras, informed recently that a tomb had been found in the central room of the structure called Oropendola, at the Acropolis that would correspond to the second ruler of that city, who was named “Reticulated Jaguar” according to experts.

The UNAM specialist pointed out that after 20 years of the Prehispanic Mural Painting in Mexico Project, funded by Beatriz de la Fuente, it has allowed registering and analyzing Teotihuacan pictorial vestiges.

For instance, “Tepantitla residential conjunct scenes do not relate to Tlaloc paradise as Alfonso Caso proposed, but to different modalities of ball game: hip, foot and stick, as well as to the beginning of time”.

“Time was born in Teotihuacan because it is where deities born, according to myths. No ballgame courts have been found in this city, but I proposed in my Doctorate thesis that it must have been played at the Dead Roadway, which is divided in sections”.

“Teotihuacan mural painting maintains congruency between its different meanings that relate to great themes of its history: beginning and measurement of time, ballgame as original myth, sacrifice and self sacrifice, as well as relations between this city an dthe Maya area”, concluded Uriarte.

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