on April 9, 2006
With so many questions still left unanswered after our visit to Teotihuacan, there was obviously only one thing to do – force my wife to visit the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City once again. Fortunately, this great museum makes for a great day out with the family.Mexico’s Museo Nacional de Antropologia is located inside the massive Chapultepec Park in the heart of Mexico City. It opened in the mid-sixties and managed to pocket some of the best pieces from numerous archaeological sites all over Mexico. It covers Mexican anthropology from the pre-Classical period up to modern-day indigenous communities. It is a large museum and it is easy to be all cultured-out long before you are halfway through. Having experienced civilizations overdose on my first visit here, I have subsequently visited only on Sundays, when admission is free, and focused on one or two civilizations at a time. On this visit, our focus was on Teotihuacan. The influence of this civilization on later ones in central Mexico was vast, but unfortunately, few items survived to the present. Of course, the archaeological site with its huge pyramids, temples, palaces, and other large structures are very impressive but hard to replicate in a museum 40 km away. However, replicate they did and to great effect. A very impressive reproduction of the facade of the Temple of the Feathered Serpent is done in full color as it presumably was centuries ago. Quetzalcoatl certainly was not someone to fool around with and Tlaloc does not leave a too friendly impression either. Behind the facade is a copy of a grave that was found near the temple. The skeletons had their hands tied behind their backs and almost certainly were sacrificed. Child skeletons found at the four corners of the Pyramid of the Sun probably indicate some cult in which children were ritually offered to Tlaloc.Further reproductions include some of the houses discovered at the periphery of the archaeological site with impressive wall paintings and parts of the Palace of Quetzalpapaloti. Several artifacts are on display illustrating the skills of the Teotihuacans in pottery. I also found the answer to what the buildings have looked like – more or less like the surviving Palace of Quetzalpaploti – stone solid outside walls to three sides with rooms facings patios and inner courtyards. The building with a few surviving pillars across the Street of the Death from the viewing point near the Pyramid of the Moon gives a good idea of what the buildings must have looked like.People visit the museum for various reasons. I came to the museum in search of some answers on the civilization of Teotihuacan and mostly found them. A local couple treated the museum like a visit to the Home Depot, earnestly debating whether they should paint their lounge the orange used as the background color at the Teotihuacan displays or rather the somewhat brighter yellow used in the Tula room.
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