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THE TEOTIHUACAN BALLGAME AND THE BEGINNING OF TIME

  • María Teresa Uriarte (a1)
Abstract

This paper proposes a reinterpretation of the Tepantitla murals long known as the Tlalocan. Taking into account the numerous representations of different kinds of ballgames on these walls, along with the instances of the Maya glyph for pu, pu or pu[h], or “Place of the Reeds” (i.e. Tollan), this paper argues that this mural represents Teotihuacan as prototypical civilized city associated with the beginning of time and the calendar. Further evidence is provided by the images of “Scattering Priests” in the adjacent room, all of whom wear crocodilian headdresses associated with Cipactli, the first day of the central Mexican calendar. In both rooms, images of Tlaloc with hallucinogenic water-lily buds in his mouth reflect associations with the sun, the calendar, and the underworld. The murals of Tepantitla can be interpreted as a coherent program representing the central role of the ballgame in establishing Teotihuacan as Tollan, the place where time began.

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E-mail correspondence to: tu786@servidor.unam.mx
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Ancient Mesoamerica
  • ISSN: 0956-5361
  • EISSN: 1469-1787
  • URL: /core/journals/ancient-mesoamerica
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