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Family Trees & Feathered Serpents at Chichén Itzá: Expanding H.B. Nicholson’s Understanding of Kukulcan

Author(s): Cynthia Kristan-Graham

Year: 2017

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Summary

While H.B. Nicholson’s magnum opus about Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl concentrates on ethnohistory, he acknowledges that some imagery at Chichén Itzá may highlight the feathered serpent’s role as patron. I propose other readings for Kukulcan ("Feathered Serpent" in Yucatecan Maya) at Early Postclassic Chichén Itzá. Linguistic and ethnographic evidence indicates that the feathered serpent symbolizes lineage and ancestry and that rattlesnake physiognomy intersects with fertility. These readings intersect with Nicholson’s interest in language and Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl’s genealogy, and with Chichén Itzá’s visual culture wherein painting and sculpture highlight lineage.


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Cite this Record

Family Trees & Feathered Serpents at Chichén Itzá: Expanding H.B. Nicholson’s Understanding of Kukulcan. Cynthia Kristan-Graham. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431148)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14698

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America