The Stuccoed and Painted Benches of Xochicalco, Morelos, Mexico

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The cultural tradition of stuccoed and polychromatic murals in central Mexico dates back to Early Classic Teotihuacan and continued into the subsequent Epiclassic period, with the stunning murals from Cacaxtla as the most famous and well-studied example. In this paper, we present three examples of stuccoed and richly painted benches or thrones from the mayor Epiclassic site of Xochicalco in the Mexican state of Morelos. A careful iconographic and epigraphic analysis of the imagery, as well as the associated hieroglyphic signs from one of the benches, leads us to suggest that these benches played a pivotal role in displaying the religious, mythological, and historical underpinnings of hierarchical power at Xochicalco. Based on comparisons with benches and seats from Classic Maya culture and, in particular, the contemporaneous Terminal Classic city of Chichen Itza, which was deeply involved in interregional relations with central Mexico, we also suggest that the Xochicalco benches may even have served as royal seats or thrones.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAncient Mesoamerica
Volume32
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)249-268
Number of pages19
ISSN0956-5361
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press.

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