Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

The Return of Quetzalcoatl: Evidence for the spread of a world religion during the Epiclassic period

  • William M. Ringle (a1), Tomás Gallareta Negrón (a2) and George J. Bey (a3)
Abstract
Abstract

Continuing analysis of the site of Chichen Itza suggests that its construction dates primarily to the Late Classic period, ca. a.d. 700–1000, rather than the Early Postclassic. This paper examines the implications of this redating for the well-known “Toltec” problem. Since Chichen largely antedated Tollan-phase Tula, we conclude that what is usually identified as Toltec imagery in fact dates to an earlier Epiclassic horizon extending from Morelos and Puebla to the Gulf Coast and Yucatan. Chichen Itza, we suggest, was the eastern node in a network of shrine centers dedicated primarily to Quetzalcoatl/Kukulcan. This network transcended political boundaries and included such sites as Cholula, Cacaxtla, El TajIn, Xochicalco, and ultimately Tula. The Quetzalcoatl cult is manifested by a specific complex of traits and seems to have expanded militarily with messianic vigor. Pilgrimage was also an important activity at these centers. This cult axis apparently continued into the Postclassic period, and was responsible for the distribution of the Mixteca-Puebla art style. In Yucatan, Mayapan would seem to have assumed Chichen's position as the major Yucatecan node, although accompanied by several new shrines along the Caribbean coast.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

George J. III Bey , Craig A. Hanson , and William M. Ringle 1997 Classic to Postclassic at Ek Balam, Yucatan: Architectural and Ceramic Evidence for Defining the Transition. Latin American Antiquity 8:237254.

Raymond Firth 1996 Religion: A Humanist Interpretation. Routledge, London.

Dan M. Healan 1993 Local Versus Non-Local Obsidian Exchange at Tula and Its Implications for Post-Formative Mesoamerica. World Archaeology 24:449466.

Donald McVicker 1985 The “Mayanized” Mexicans. American Antiquity 50:82101.

Ellen S. Spinden 1933 The Place of Tajin in Totonac Archaeology. American Anthropologist 35:225270.

Barbara L. Stark , Lynette Heller , Michael D. Glascock , J. Michael Elam , and Hector Neff 1992 Obsidian-Artifact Source Analysis for the Mixtequilla Region, South-Central Veracruz, Mexico. Latin American Antiquity 3:221239.

Hasso von Winning 1961 Teotihuacan Symbols: The Reptile's Eye Glyph. Ethnos 26:121166.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Ancient Mesoamerica
  • ISSN: 0956-5361
  • EISSN: 1469-1787
  • URL: /core/journals/ancient-mesoamerica
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics