Page 53

There is much variety in the arm and leg ornaments of all the figures. A tied soft cuff wrist ornament is the most common, but not the only, type in row A. It is the only wrist cuff limited to a single row; at least six other types of wrist cuff are found in at least three of the five rows. Almost all the figures in row A also wear a tied, soft cuff anklet, puffball knee circlet, or both. Almost every figure in row A wears gaiters, leg apparel worn by only two figures in the rows above (B5, B6).

Central, not peripheral, figures carry staffs (B12, B13, B14), clubs (A12, A13), and bundles (B13, B14). Central figures carry a bowl (C10) and three (B11, B13, C10) of four (A21) bags. Other ornaments stress the importance of the central figures. They wear the majority of all necklaces in the composition, and only central figures display the plug-and-bar ear ornament (B11, BC, B14, EC). Analysis of the wall and vault sculpture of the Lower Temple of the Jaguars distinguishes several groups of figures among the sculptures. Tozzer (1930) long ago noted the distinctive character of the figures in row A compared to the figures in rows B-E. None of the upper rows is as easily distinguished from each other as row A is from the other three. The analysis underscores the importance of the central scenes of each row compared to the flanking, peripheral characters, who function more or less in supporting roles to the major actors of the central scenes. The most dramatic event of the composition occurs at the center of row B, approximately the center of the rear wall of the temple. Here the central figure stands facing to the right, with all the authority and power of the large serpent winding behind him. The two figures flanking him are significant to the composition, but other figures become more standardized as the distance from the center increases. As the composition ascends, the figures in row C become less distinctive than those in row B, and those peripheral figures in the upper two rows (D, E) are even more alike than the figures in the rows below. The

Nose beads again distinguish the two groups. Tubular nose beads are worn by five and perhaps six figures in row A, and by figures B11, B12 and by the central figure of row E (EC). With the exception of figure A9, pendant nose beads are found only in rows B-E, and the nose plug is found only in the upper rows, particularly rows C and D. Often there is more variety in the types of ornaments or garments than indicated above, and some aspects of dress do not sort as well as others. The variety of headdress is enormous, and thus difficult to categorize; sandals also are conspicuously omitted from this brief list. Focus upon certain items of habiliment that one can easily categorize underscores the unique character of the persons in row A. One can distinguish central and peripheral figures by applying the same method of segregating groups as was used to indicate differences between the figures in row A and those above. The central figures of each row display more variety in arms, accoutrements, and apparel than do the peripheral figures.


Profile for CityofMesa

Architecture and Chronology at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán  

Architecture and Chronology at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán