Mesoamerican Stone Sculpture, A Photo Gallery 1999 by James Q. Jacobs

The table below presents views of stone sculpture from throughout Mesoamerica.
Each thumbnail photo is a link to a larger version of the same photograph.

The Cannibalism Paradigm: Assessing Contact Period Ethnohistorical Discourse
Teotihuacan Mural Art: Assessing the Accuracy of its Interpretation
Mesoamerican Archaeoastronomy: Contemporary Understandings of Prehispanic Astronomic Knowledge
Stela from Aparicio, Vera Cruz. This carving is now in the Museum of Anthropology in Jalapa, Vera Cruz.

Stela from Aparicio, Vera Cruz. This carving is now in the Museum of Anthropology in Jalapa, Vera Cruz.

The colossal statue of Coatlicue is of the largest and most impressive statues in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

The colossal statue of Coatlicue is of the largest and most impressive statues in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Two opposing serpent heads form the face. Late Post-Classic period, Aztec. Height 2.5 m. Special thanks to the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historía for permission to photograph this and the other images from the Museum.

Olmec stone head on display in the Jalapa museum.

An unusual Olmec stone head on display in the Jalapa museum.

magnificent Olmec stone head from San Lorenzo

Also on display in the Jalapa museum is this magnificent Olmec stone head from San Lorenzo. The monolith is 8.5 feet tall. The stone was moved 50 miles by the Olmecs, from Cerro Cintepec in the Tuxtla Mountains. San Lorenzo was occupied from 1700 to 1200 BC. About nine of these colossal heads were found at San Lorenzo.

Two of the danzantes stelae at Monte Alban, the major Zapotec center on a mountain top in the middle of the Oaxaca Valley. These date to the Monte Alban I phase, from before 200 BC.

Two of the danzantes stelae at Monte Alban, the major Zapotec center on a mountain top in the middle of the Oaxaca Valley. These date to the Monte Alban I phase, from before 200 BC.

In this view a duplicate of a danzante is being made so the original can be moved into the Monte Alban museum. There are about 150 of these figures. They are important for their early display of glyphs. These bas-reliefs are the oldest known literary texts in Mexico.

Another stela in the Jalapa Museum, with Gulf Coast provenience is Stela 6 from Cerro de las Mesas, Vera Cruz. The column of glyphs on the left records the Long Count date 9.1.12.14.10 (during AD 468). The iconography in this image is indicative of continuity from the Olmec era.

elaborate Classic Mayan stela

This elaborate Classic Mayan stela is now located in the National Museum of Anthropology in Guatemala City. This is the same image as the background of this page. This photograph cannot do justice to the fine details on this stela. I recommend seeing it in person.

Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. The branch is symbolic of a branch of the Tree of Life.

This sculpture of a bird on a branch of the tree is housed in the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. The branch is symbolic of a branch of the Tree of Life. This image recurs in Prehispanic codices.

A rabbit sculpture in a small park in Misantla, Vera Cruz.

A rabbit sculpture in a small park in Misantla, Vera Cruz. This and another sculpture, of a bearded man emerging from a shell, were moved to the village from the nearby Los Idolos pyramid mounds. In Mesoamerica the moon is equated with the rabbit. The circular form of this image reinforced that interpretation. At Los Idolos there are numerous spherical sculptures.

Xochipilli statue in the National Museum in Mexico City.

The Xochipilli statue in the National Museum in Mexico City. This image is presumed to date from the Aztec era. The body of the personage is decorated with floral designs. Xochipilli means 'Prince of Flowers.' Late Post-Classic period. With base 1.2 m. high.

hieroglyphic staircase at Palenque.

A portion of a hieroglyphic staircase at Palenque.


 
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