General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 20 Nov 2017/5 Eagle
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Can you identify this poster?

ORIGINAL QUESTION received from - and thanks to - Nick: I have been trawling the net trying to find some info. on this poster. It is about 4ft. X 2ft. I purchased it at a blues festival way back in 1965. I had it framed and it’s been in my possession since. It now hangs in my bedroom. It’s printed in a fuzzy felt onto a blue paper. Could you inform me whether they are made up characters or taken from some other publication. I would be interested if they are particular gods!! I apologise for the photo-flash on the image. I keep meaning to get it reframed in non-reflective glass. Hope you can help me. (Answer written by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

Nick’s poster...
Nick’s poster... (Click on image to enlarge)

This is a faithful reproduction - albeit in just two colours - of a well-known image (in the field of Maya mural studies!) and comes from the Maya mural paintings at Santa Rita Corozal in Belize. They were painted in the ‘Late Classic’ period, and show an interesting combination of traditional Maya iconography* together with influences from the central Mexican highlands - usually referred to as the Mixteca-Puebla style or ‘repertoire’.
The mural paintings at Santa Rita are full of strong religious imagery, combining mythological scenes with astronomical representations.
* Best example: the little face-like ajau (‘Lord’) daysign, seen here ‘floating’ over the right hand of the central deity.

The same image (based on a drawing by Thomas Gann in 1900), from the western half of the north wall, Mount 1, Santa Rita Corozal, Belize
The same image (based on a drawing by Thomas Gann in 1900), from the western half of the north wall, Mount 1, Santa Rita Corozal, Belize (Click on image to enlarge)

We’re not expert enough to be able to tell you who all three figures represent, but we DO know enough to identify the third one (ie the one on the right) as the Plumed Serpent, one of the most famous of Mesoamerican deities. The serpent’s body is shown entwined, in a style found for example in the Codex Zouche-Nuttall (plate 29).
The murals from Santa Rita, like those of Tulum in Mexico, have been studied in detail by scholars, for the strikingly clear, more abstract artistic influence they show from central Mexico - older Maya murals took a more naturalistic line. If you really want to learn about the iconography in detail, follow the ‘At Dawn’s Edge’ link below!

Particular thanks to Professor Gordon Whittaker for his kind assistance in identifying this image.

Picture scanned from Arqueología Mexicana, ‘La Pintura Maya’, vol. XVI, no. 93 (Sept-Oct 2008), p.61.

‘Mayistas’ blogspot entry on the Santa Rita mural paintings (in Spanish)

‘At Dawn’s Edge...’ - academic article by Professor Karl Taube

Arqueología Mexicana issue online (no. 93) (in Spanish)

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