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Student’s Name
Professor’s Name
Course
Date
Teotihuacan Art
Abstract
When studying art, you can tell a lot about people’s culture through the way they
presented their forms. There are characteristics of art that are symbolic of the way of life.
Other things that one can learn from literature is the era in which it was created and why.
Teotihuacan art is one of the most expressive forms of art built around 500 CE. The
technique takes many shapes in terms of color and vibrancy. The artists took their time to
express their idea and in the process captured the culture of the pre-Columbian Mexicans.
The arts have lived long enough to tell their story. This article looks into various forms of
art of Teotihuacan and how they represent different aspects of tradition, class, and
behavior.
Teotihuacan Art
Teotihuacan is the most significant city in central Mexico. It is about 30 miles
northeast of Mexico. The town covered 8 square miles and had a population of
approximately 125000- 200000 in 500 CE (Khan Academy). Because of its people, it was
one of the largest at its time. It was a hub for both economic and religious activities.
Teotihuacan art mainly reflects symbolism in terms of visual communications. A closer
look into most of the works shows that some of the murals were naturalistic and others
were geometric forms as well as abstract patterns (Von 121). It indicates that Teotihuacan
art was diverse with most of the images representing nature, animals and such. There
were also forms that did not necessarily conform to view- they were non-living forms that
took shapes of squares and circles. These were styled in pictorial forms and preserved.
However, the natural world profoundly inspired Teotihuacan art through coherent
simplification of reality. The painting often depicted patterns that reflected an aesthetic
sensibility that highlights on Teotihuacan culture. Most cultures use the technique to
represent aspects such as beliefs, and culture.
Importance Lines and Shapes of Teotihuacan Art
When you look at the art, the circle and sphere are common in artifacts such as
ornaments, and other accessories (Nichols 13). Take, for instance; there was ear flare that
had two concentric circles that were common among the people of Teotihuacan. The
rings represented the eyes of the god of rain called Tlaloc. The same case applies to
neckpieces that were made out of beads spherical in shape (Khan Academy). Tlaloc’s
headgear also has concentric circles that create interesting patterns. The loop was a
significant representation of nature, death, and regeneration among the Teotihuacan
people.
When observing most art murals, the shapes have heavy, robust, and bold outlines
that mostly resembles the Egyptian art. Other similarities include robust frameworks
combined with bright colors and two-dimensional creations. For example, the mural of
Tepantitla, high vegetation, and fertility goddess was from adjacent bands of motifs
together with thin tubular forms that take over the pictorial plane (Nichols 33). The artists
used trees and branches to form organic lines in place of harsh and angular shapes. The
subsidiaries of the murals low freely and have a green color. The technique of the
decorations was meant to reflect on the pure form of nature. As such, most images seem
natural, soft, flowing and depict serenity.
Body Ornament and Color
The uniqueness of art manifests in the characteristics. In the Teotihuacan culture,
one notable aspect is the color. They are red, blue, yellow, black, and green and all
represent Teotihuacan society. Take, for instance; green was that primary color used to
describe or signify water and green maize. The people of Teotihuacan viewed these two
are the most crucial aspect of their society. On the other hand, red signified blood as
human sacrifice was common in religious acts and was the most ancient in their culture.
Gore did depict not only sacrifice but also eternal life because it was a tool that
symbolized survival (Nichols 13). To create color, the artists used iron compounds from
the Mexican highlands. The materials used to produce color were such as calcite,
limonite, and Hematite. The Teotihuacan people used a method known as a fresco for
coating using a thin plaster surface and clay. The color pigment was applied before the
mud dried up. The shaping of the forms was done using obsidian blades, light sticks, and
thorns.
The murals were used to decorate the walls of the elite. Most of them reflected on
forms of nature such as goddess and such. In such works of art, the goddess was put
together with other depictions of life such as flowers (Spence 295). The materials used to
decorate the murals for headdresses and jewelry was jade. Green appears to the most
dominant color in most of the paintings reflecting on nature and fertility. Another
common feature is that red was dominant in most Teotihuacan paintings and also came in
varying tones. As stated earlier, the color was from a mixture of hematite through
heating. By using moderate heat, the color would be bolder- brown red. The paintings
also had a red background with the most outstanding shade. The reason for using red is
that it gave life to the art by giving it a sparkling effect. Or this reason, most Teotihuacan
paintings appear to be dramatic. Another observation of the murals is that they have a
vivid color that has careful put outlines. One can still distinguish between black and
white colors despite that the tonal range is close. Other visible colors in the murals are
green, yellow, and blue (Spence 295). However, red is the most dominant color, then
green. The divinity of the divine figures was by yellow coloring. The complimentary
colors that were, high pigments, saturated and vivid, helped to create the patterns of
Teotihuacan painting. Another characteristic is symmetrical of the shapes used in
pictures.
Proportions and Style
The dimensions that the artists used in their sculptures were peculiar (Spence
295). For example, the structures had big heads and small bodies. They could either be a
representation of human beings or hybrids between people and animals. The statues were
created using a jade or stones found in Central America. They were symbols of divine
and social strength. Therefore, the art used to represent both gods and rulers. The people
believed that kings and other rulers were like semi-gods, hence the high status. When the
Mayans arrived, they enforced the veneration o rulers to the point of worshiping them.
Most of the statues were in Teotihuacan with masks that had a unique and similar model.
The faces took the form of an inverted triangle, a broad nose, sharp cheekbones, and thick
lips. On the other hand, the ears were like rectangular with piercings.
A closer look into the forms of the temples shows that they were unique because
of characteristics such as the value- a raised space built on top of a sloping panel (Von
122). There are different proportions of the parts of the buildings as well as circular
decorations called chalchihuites. They were used to represent wealth and prosperity. The
names were after the ceremonial center in Teotihuacan which was between Zacatecas and
Durango in the North. The pyramid also had essential features such as petroglyphs- a
walk away and columns. According to places like Gamio, showed that is where the
transition began.
Materials Used In Teotihuacan Ornaments
One of the many mixes of art found in Teotihuacan were multi-purpose as they
served both religious and decorative needs. There are a large number of masks made of
stones are unique in that they have a traditional schematic expression. The Teotihuacan
style mainly takes an abstract, planar, geometric form (Spence 300). The masks have
holes that depict the eyes, ears, and sides. According to the period in which the costumes
existed, masks had a different form. According to some scholars, they claim that some
masked were not for wearing in the classical period. However, they represented human
figures and were decorated with ornaments to represent deities at that time. During the
Post Classic period, they were buried with their owners to enable a peaceful transition
into the underworld.
The most typical materials that the artists used to reshape the masks were stonemade, limestone, jade, serpentine, onyx and such (Kubler 12). The eyes, mouths, ears
were created using things like in-laid shells. According to archeologists, they believe that
Obsidian was an essential material in Teotihuacan city because it was the primary source
in the making of art. Different queries produced obsidian used in workshops. Shells were
used to symbolize fertility, richness, and also power (Kubler 15). They were also used to
create interactions between the locals and people of the Pacific and Gulf. The Gulf was
an excellent source of shells making it possible for artists to collect a substantial amount
for their works while people used them as offerings. While one can think that the
polished masks are plain, during the Classic period they were decorated with different
shades of colors to represent tradition.
Style
Instead of illusion, the artists exploited their imagination. For example, where
time and space do not become monotonous and world expectation (Nicholas 55).
Whether one is looking at the paintings, sculptures, or ceramics, the Teotihuacan art is
uniform with linear, shallow, flat designs. In most cases, organic pattering is usually
heavy- interlocked decorations like marvelous headdresses (Nicholas 56). Despite one
may not be able to read through the symbolism, there is a typical pattern of organization
in the works. Most of the art depict cosmic order that explains the diversity of the people
of Mesoamerica. For example, a 4-foot anthropomorphic figure was from carved, calcite
marble that stands stiff (Nicholas 65). Another feature that stands out when it comes to
sculptures is an oversized head put on a neck that seems to grow straight from the torso.
The facial features like the mouth into creating expressions, power, command and such.
Although most sculptures had numerous cracks and smudged with burns, the catalogs
trace them back to the wartime period.
Conclusion
A look into the Teotihuacan art shows that the artists had a great understanding of
human nature. Other forms of art were a representation of body ornaments such as color,
style, and line. The body ornaments in art reflected culture throughout in paintings,
sculptures, ceramics, and such. Some ornaments like masks, neck pieces, and bracelets
are customary in Teotihuacan culture. People who jewelry belonged to the wealthy and
rulers. To sum it up, the art is useful in understanding the culture of pre-Columbian like
the Teotihuacan. The characteristics of the art, the style, and the form represent living
things and the lifestyle of the people. From the art, one can learn about the class systems,
the rituals, and even trade of the Teotihuacan people. It goes to show how dark art is, in
the form of expression.
Works Cited
Kubler, George. “The iconography of the art of Teotihuacan.” Studies in Pre-Columbian
Art and
Archaeology 4 (1967): 1-40.
Khan Academy. Mayans and Teotihuacan | World History | Khan Academy. 2017.

Nichols, Deborah L. “Teotihuacan.” Journal of Archaeological Research 24.1 (2016): 174.
Spence, Michael W. “Personal art in Teotihuacan: the thin orange graffiti.” Ancient
Mesoamerica
26.2 (2015): 295-311.
Von Winning, Hasso. “Teotihuacán symbols: the reptile’s eye glyph.” Ethnos 26.3
(1961): 121166.
Student’s Name
Professor’s Name
Course
Date
Teotihuacan Art

Abstract

When studying art, you can tell a lot about people’s culture through the way they
presented their forms. There are characteristics of art that are symbolic of the way
of life.

Teotihuacan Art

Teotihuacan is the most significant city in central Mexico. It is about 30
miles northeast of Mexico. The town covered 8 square miles and had a
population of approximately 125000- 200000 in 500 CE .

Importance Lines and Shapes of Teotihuacan Art

When you look at the art, the circle and sphere are common in artifacts
such as ornaments, and other accessories Tlaloc’s headgear also has
concentric circles that create interesting patterns. The loop was a
significant representation of nature, death, and regeneration among the
Teotihuacan people.

Body Ornament and Color

The uniqueness of art manifests in the characteristics. In the Teotihuacan
culture, one notable aspect is the color. They are red, blue, yellow, black,
and green and all represent Teotihuacan society.

Proportions and Style

The dimensions that the artists used in their sculptures were peculiar. For
example, the structures had big heads and small bodies. They could either
be a representation of human beings or hybrids between people and
animals. The statues were created using a jade or stones found in Central
America.

Materials Used In Teotihuacan Ornaments

One of the many mixes of art found in Teotihuacan were multi-purpose as
they served both religious and decorative needs. There are a large number
of masks made of stones are unique in that they have a traditional
schematic expression. The Teotihuacan style mainly takes an abstract,
planar, geometric form. The masks have holes that depict the eyes, ears,
and sides. According to the period in which the costumes existed, masks
had a different form. According to some scholars, they claim that some
masked were not for wearing in the classical period. However, they
represented human figures and were decorated with ornaments to
represent deities at that time. During the Post Classic period, they were
buried with their owners to enable a peaceful transition into the
underworld.

Style

Instead of illusion, the artists exploited their imagination. For example,
where time and space do not become monotonous and world expectation.

Conclusion

A look into the Teotihuacan art shows that the artists had a great
understanding of human nature. Other forms of art were a representation
of body ornaments such as color, style, and line. The body ornaments in
art reflected culture throughout in paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and
such. Some ornaments like masks, neck pieces, and bracelets are
customary in Teotihuacan culture.
Works Cited
Kubler, George. “The iconography of the art of Teotihuacan.” Studies in Pre-Columbian
Art and
Archaeology 4 (1967): 1-40.
Khan Academy. Mayans and Teotihuacan | World History | Khan Academy. 2017.

Nichols, Deborah L. “Teotihuacan.” Journal of Archaeological Research 24.1 (2016): 174.
Spence, Michael W. “Personal art in Teotihuacan: the thin orange graffiti.” Ancient
Mesoamerica
26.2 (2015): 295-311.
Von Winning, Hasso. “Teotihuacán symbols: the reptile’s eye glyph.” Ethnos 26.3
(1961): 121166.

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