Classic Central Veracruz Art in Mesoamerican Art History
Professor of Art History, University of Houston
Decapitation scene (detail), South Ballcourt, El Tajín, Classic Central Veracruz Culture (drawing by Rex Koontz)
This presentation surveys key aspects of the art of Classic Central Veracruz, including the yoke/hacha/palma complex and the monumental center of El Tajín, in the larger context of Mesoamerican art history.
The art of Classic Central Veracruz (Mexican Gulf Coast, ca. 100–1000 CE) is best known through a remarkable elite portable sculptural tradition (the “yoke/hacha/palma” complex) and the monumental art of El Tajín. In their analyses of both the portable sculpture complex and the art of El Tajín, scholars have stressed the central role of the Mesoamerican ritual ballgame. The ballgame, in turn, is understood as a largely static set of practices and symbolism across Mesoamerica. This static view of the ballgame, its related objects, and the capital city of El Tajín is giving way to a more variegated historical understanding of the history of the yoke/hacha/palma complex as well as the slow emergence of El Tajín out of a heretofore little-discussed regional culture. This presentation will summarize some of the more important aspects of this recent work and attempt to put that work in the context of larger issues in Classic-period Mesoamerican history.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
6 PM in the Lecture Hall
The Institute of Fine Arts
1 East 78th Street
Followed by a reception with wine and cheese in the Loeb Room