Pre-Columbian Odyssey: Virgins of Xochitécatle 2005 - 2007


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Pre-Colombian art, architecture and artifacts fascinate me. In 1996, I traveled to throughout Mesoamerica to visit important and less well-known Pre-Columbian sites. My itinerary took me throughout Mexico, the Yucatán peninsula, Guatemala and Honduras. I wanted to sense the spatial relationships among buildings, pyramids, and panoramic vistas, particularly at Monte Alban, Teotihuacán, and Cacaxla, as well as to view sculptures and ceramics associated with these ruins. In the many large and small museums and galleries I encountered amazing Pre-Columbian art and artifacts.

One place that made an indelible impression on me is located the outskirts Tlaxcala, Mexico. This locale has two Pre-Columbian sites situated almost on top of one another: Cacaxla, with its fabulous murals, complex architectural remains and small museum, and the nearby the site of Xochitécatle, consisting of four pyramids that are believed to have been used mainly for religious purposes. An on-site security guard learned I was a potter. He invited me to visit a small museum, normally not open to the public, at the foot of the round one (unusual in Pre-Columbian construction). It was filled with small ceramics and artifacts. Of the ceramics on display, the most interesting were 13 or 14 very small, flattened ceramic figures with removable figurative heads in the abdomen. The images of the tiny figures, with their even smaller removable figures in the belly of each, remained with me. I have recreated a series of sculptures to make tangible my memories of those tiny figures that allude to multiple layers of symbolism attached to the female figure, particularly as a receptacle.