Sunday, 1 December 2013

Visiting the Zapotecs again

After the visit to Monte Alban which was the "capital" of the Zapotechs, it was time to visit Mitla which was the chief religious site. Mitla means "place of the dead" was built around 100 B.C. and occupied until 1521 when the Spaniards arrived.

Mitla is best known for the stunning geometric patterns made out of mosaic. I can certainly understand how the weaver we met is inspired to recreate them on his loom.

This room, called the Hall of Columns, leads through a narrow passageway to the interior of the building which was, according to indigenous sources, the residence of the powerful oracle-priest, called “The Great Seer”

 Inside the heart of the complex four rooms lead off. These are richly decorated with complex and beautifully worked mosaics. Such skill was used that they line up perfectly, no fudging at the corners needed.
Inside the residential areas there are remains of paintings along the top of the walls in a complex frieze. Although little remains, what does has been decoded to show that it is an astronomical record of what happened both in the skies and to the population.

Closer view.

The range of patterns in stone were incredible and nowhere else in Mexico has them.

One of the main squares leading up to the Hall of Columns. The walls are believed to have originally been covered in red stucco so some of this has been reinstated to give an impression of just how bright and colourful the complex must have been.
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