At the de Young: Teotihuacan

I’ve been waiting for a chance to make it to the de Young’s Teotihuacan exhibition for a number of months now and on Sunday Sydney and I finally had a chance to head over. The exhibit featured a little more than half a dozen rooms filled with a variety of artifacts excavated from different digs of Teotihuacan. Most of these were either religious figurines or fragments from larger statues, although a few everyday pieces also appeared in the collection.

For background, Teotihuacan was a Mesoamerican city state founded around 100 CE near modern-day Mexico City. The site is noteworthy for a number of reasons, foremost being the large pyramids built along its famed “Avenue of the Dead”. The site flourished for around 500 years before eventually succumbing to a rapid decline in population and a large burning and destruction of the major civic and religious structures. The exact origins of the founders of the city are unknown as are the reasons for its rapid decline although climate change and internal upheaval are generally listed as the leading theories.

Anyway, enjoy the de Young’s Teotihuacan:

A series of carved shells.
The details on these shells were amazing; I felt like I was looking at something that had just been carved.
Loved the attitude of this particular character.
The last of the shells.

A lot of the close-ups for this came out great, so be prepared for a few more 🙂
One of the many murals in the exhibition. This particular one seems to depict two animals devouring a third.
This piece was described as a “face with claws”. I can find the claws in the center, but where are the eyes?
I loved this particular angle for this piece. The relief and the lighting give it this great terminating effect.

One of my favorites in the collection. From this angle you can really see the way the pigment was applied and how the ceramic was originally shaped. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name for this one.
Sydney claimed to feel a special connection with this piece. Must be the hair…

I enjoyed seeing these masks done in a very different style from the other ceramics in the collection. There were so many “storm gods” that seeing some human faces was refreshing.
This piece and the next were both described as incense burners. In fact, many of the harder-to-define pieces wound up being burners for incense.

Whoever made this piece had a wonderful sense of humor. I love this thing.

This statue fragment was actually more than 6′ in length and about 2′ or 3′ tall.

The title piece of the collection. This one was also a larger piece probably being about 5′ in diameter.

The only shot I included of the many serpent murals on display.

Sadly, the other close-ups of some of the figurines came out blurred. Obsidian was apparently a widely used crafting material in Teotihuacan, potentially something it traded in.
This statue was the final piece in the collection and stood about my height. I love the detail of the fragmentation in the third photo.

Thanks for reading and keep your eyes out for another photography post. Sydney and I are planning on going to the Legion of Honor in January to see their Rodin collection and their “Gods in Polychrome” exhibition of Greco-Roman statues painted in their original coloring.