‘Plumed Serpent’ shows the real Quetzalcoatl

ANCIENT BLING—A mosaic skull from the Mixteca people of the region of Oaxaca and Puebla. The skulls of their ancestors were mixed with ivory, bamboo and other minerals and turquoise to show the status of the ancestor. CN/Maria Gonzalez

By Maria Gonzalez

The “Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico” is the latest Latin exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that captures Mesoamerica deity Quetzalcoatl with late Pre-Columbian art and material and the trade-work that happened during that period.

The exhibit explores the complexity of  the Nahua, Mixtec and Zapotec communities that were located in the south of Mexico, known as Mesoamerica, and who survived  the Aztec and Spanish domination.  Those people are now known as the Children of the Plumed Serpent who worshiped Quetzalcoatl.

Quetzalcoatl, which in the Nahua tongue means “feathered (plumed) serpent,” was a recurring motif.

On display there are more than 200 fine works of gold, shell, and turquoise pieces, ceramics, and painted manuscripts that have been borrowed from Mexico, European and American institutions.

When entering the exhibition the motif of the feathered serpent surrounds the aisles.

One of the of portraits carved from greenstone portrays Quetzalcoatl emerging from a serpent, which symbolizes Quetzalcoatl’s incarnation as the “feathered serpent.”

The exhibit focuses on the legend and impact Quetzalcoatl had on the communities. He is considered to be the founder of them lived on and created a trade-work with neighboring cities extending all the way to South America.

The trade network is visible on the artifacts and figurines of these three kingdoms, that goes to show that globalization is not something new.

Quetzalcoatl’s relationship with the trade network where the exchange of materials and ideas, developed art style and pictographic writing system united communities living in Mesoamerica.

Also on display is the Monte Alban Tomb 7 that was found 80 years ago by Alfonso Caso and is one of the richest funerary offerings found in Mesoamerica.  The tomb contained exquisite greenstone, turquoise, pearl, gold, obsidian, rock crystal, copper and silver jewelry that shows the impeccable craftsmanship of the artisans.

Although the Mayan and the Aztecs have been talked about more, the Miztecs, Zapotecs and Nahua have the key to the culture that goes back to the period between 900 and 1521 A.D.

The exhibition will be open until July 1. Admission is free for Los Angeles County residents after 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. More information can be found at  www.lacma.org.

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