The North Ball Court Complex
Zapotec court at Monte Alban in Oaxaca and the great Maya ball court at Chichen Itza in Yucatan. This once again shows Xochicalco's multicultural mix, with Teotihuacán, Maya, and Zapotec influences.
All of these symbols are related to Tlaloc, the Rain God. The games, therefore, were a critical part of the effort by the priestly elite to encourage Tlaloc to continue the cyclical rains and thus ensure good harvests. It should also be noted that conches are a symbol linking Tlaloc with Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent. He was the god who provided humanity with maiz (corn) and is further linked to Ehecatl, the Wind God who pushes the rain so that it arrives to nourish the fields. The belief that the priestly elite could intercede with the gods to ensure good harvests was the key to their power in Xochicalco's society.
Temescal was religious purification. Those who were allowed to participate in these rites were the ball players and some important members of the elite. The walls of the steam bath were constructed from adobe and covered with stone. The roof was flat and supported by wooden rafters. The opening seen above was both an entrance and a channel which connects to the nearby water system.
Huehueteotl, the God of Fire.
Clypeasteroida, an order of sea urchins. Conches and other sea shells were imported from the Pacific Coast along the trade routes dominated by Xochicalco. It is probable that these decorations were modeled on shells collected from the coastal beaches of Guerrero. That area was dominated at the time by Xihuacán, a trade partner of Xochicalco during the Epi-Classic era (650 AD - 900 AD).
the water system's importance was the scarcity of water sources on top of the mountain where Xochicalco was constructed. There were few, if any, springs that ran year round. Water could be brought from the lake to the south of the city, but there were no draft animals in North America at that time. The jugs would have had to be carried by hand for a considerable distance.
followed this route, which also marks the direction of the sun's movement from east to west. The route may further represent Quetzalcoatl's famous journey into Xibalba (the underworld) to recover the bones from which humanity was created.
Zapotec capital of Monte Alban, and at the Matlazinca city of Calixtlahuaca.
The Polychrome Altar
talud y tablero style originating in Teotihuacán, from which at least some of Xochicalco's founders originated. The talud is the sloping lower wall of the altar, while the tablero is the vertical rectangular surface above it. Teotihuacán's influence was far reaching and, as a result, the talud y tablero style appears throughout Mesoamerica.
This completes Part 8 of my Xochicalco series. I will finish this series with Part 9, when we will look at the East Ball Court Ceremonial Complex. I hope you enjoyed this posting and, if so, you will leave any comments or questions in the Comments section below. You can also email me directly.
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Hasta luego, Jim