The Izapa Ruins, A Photo Gallery
The table below
presents views of Izapan stelae and ceramics. Izapa, an ancient mound/stelae
complex in Mesoamerica, is located on the Pacific Coast piedmont along
the Mexico-Guatemala border next to the International Bridge a few miles
from Tapachula. The Izapa mound complex has the greatest number of pre-Mayan
stelae. Each thumbnail photo is a link to a larger version of the same
Paradigm: Assessing Contact Period Ethnohistorical Discourse
Teotihuacan Mural Art: Assessing the Accuracy of its Interpretation
Contemporary Understandings of Prehispanic Astronomic Knowledge
Stela at the Izapa ruins. The site features more than 60 stone monuments.
Izapan stela found in the Tuxtla Gutierrez Museum. This stela features
a human figure facing a possible Tree of Life figure, a combination
saurian base with vegetation at the top.
This photo shows the super-narrative stela 5, the most detailed and
largest of the relief carved stelae at Izapa. The photograph was taken
at night with extreme side lighting, a technique used to reveal details
not visible during ordinary illumination. The central theme of this
image is the Tree of Life.
A close-up of details in the lower left corner of Stela 5. The wave
curls at the bottom may indicate an ocean. Above this are what may be
pyramids. The feet of a saurian, or roots of the Tree of Life, are visible
in the upper fight of this image.
Some of the finest early ceramics in Mesoamerica are from the Pacific
piedmont near Izapa. This tradtion continued during Izapan times. The
ceramics became more plastic and sculptural as seen here. Like this
figure, other figures are goggle-eyed and fanged.
A stone head carving in the Soconusco Museum in Tapachula, Mexico.
A large ceramic piece found in the Soconusco Museum in Tapachula. Notice
the large and distinct earplugs. A variety of earplugs are found on
Izapan ceramics, including flowers, animals, and geometric forms. One
figure has a snake projecting from one ear plug and a fish from the
Another Izapan ceramic item from the museum in Tapachula. It was my
impression that explicit emotional states are depicted with the plastic
clay medium. Some figures have protruding tongues. This figure has interesting
curled extensions of the lip lines. With the many decorated stelae and
the decorated ceramics it is evident that the Izapan peoples had a very
Mound 30 is a multi-level platform featuring a complex arrangement
of stelae, including
spherical sculptures atop stelae. Astronomical alignments have been
noted for these monuments.