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Touring exhibition. Presentation in Berlin:
1 July - 10 October 2010, Martin-Gropius-Bau
Teotihuacan was the first, largest and most influential metropolis on the American continent, between 100 B.C. and 650 A.D. In its heyday, the city reached an area of about 20 square kilometres, with a population of more than 150.000 people. It is still not known, who were the inhabitants of Teotihuacan, and why the city was abandoned around 650 A.D. Not even its original name is known. When the Aztecs, coming from the North in the first half of the 14th century discovered the abandoned ruins of the city on the Mexican Central Plateau, they gave it the name of Teotihuacan – "place where gods were born" – and used it as the setting for their own creation myth.
The exhbition was first shown at the end of May 2009 at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, conceived by its Director Felipe Solís, who passed away one month before the opening. After touring to Monterrey (Mexico), Paris, Zürich, it is on view in Berlin until 10 October 2010.
With more than 450 outstanding objects presented in Europe for the first time, it gives a comprehensive insight into the art, everyday life and religion of Teotihuacan, showing also its influence on other regions of Mexico. On view are elements of architecture, vessels and figures, costly stone carvings, masks, statues of gods and representations of animals as well as examples of highly symbolic murals.
The exhibition is divided into nine sections. The first item to welcome the visitor is the Great Jaguar of Xalla, one of the more recent finds from a palace complex and a characteristic example of decorative monumental architecture. An introduction to the development of the city and its archaeological history is followed by a section on architecture and town planning as represented by sculptures, friezes and murals. The social themes of politics, hierarchies, economy, war and commerce are represented by a multitude of objects, including stone sculptures, clay vessels and jade jewellery. Obsidian, for example, was the material from which weapons were made, Teotihuacan being a great manufactory of weapons. There is a spectacular reconstruction of a tomb found under the Pyramid of the Moon. A special category may be seen in the "innkeeper figures", which house inside them tiny, elaborately shaped figurines arranged as in a seedling box. Religion, gods and rituals, urban and social life, art, crafts and workshops as well as cultural exchange are further themes of this unique show.
Edited and complemented extracts from the press release.
The brief texts on the image pages of our Photo Tour are based on the information in the exhibiton and in the catalog. Edited and translated by Binder & Haupt.
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Photo tours and information: Contemporary arts, cultural heritage, archaeological sites
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