Fang & Feather: The Origin of Avian-Serpent Imagery at Teotihuacan and Symbolic Interaction with Jaguar Iconography in Mesoamerica
Author(s): Kathryn Florence
The Central Mexican city of Teotihuacan rose to prominence in the last century BC and lasted for six centuries The civic plan was arranged around two main perpendicular avenues lined with temples and public monuments. By the third century AD, the population was housed in apartment compounds. On the walls were murals depicting ornately dressed administrators, armor-clad warriors, and fantastic creatures. These murals were the birthplace of the Feathered Serpent. My research proposes that the Feathered Serpent of Teotihuacan was a new deity serving as a symbol of the city; conceived in direct opposition to the jaguars used to symbolize kingship in contemporary Mayan polities. Past studies have treated the murals of Teotihuacan as either literal representation of supernatural deities or as a set of signs to be translated like a language. This study concludes that there is an intermediate interpretation wherein the feathered serpent is both a god and a symbol of identity. This is found in the representations of Teotihuacanos outside of Teotihuacan and outsiders within the barrios of Teotihuacan. Thus, Mesoamerican states not only foregrounded concepts of community identity, but also actively recognized those of other polities they came into contact with.
Cite this Record
Fang & Feather: The Origin of Avian-Serpent Imagery at Teotihuacan and Symbolic Interaction with Jaguar Iconography in Mesoamerica. Kathryn Florence. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443106)
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min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;
Abstract Id(s): 18743