Monday, October 1, 2012


Teocalli One (1980)
Teocalli is the Aztec (nahuatl) term for temple or temple/pyramid.

The Aztec and Maya temple/pyramids across Mexico, many of which still stand and have been restored, were the focal monuments of the respective Mesoamerican cultures that thrived before the arrival of the Spaniards.

As is also documented, they were the locus of human sacrifice, either on a limited or large scale—a horrific and bloody spectacle that animated the accounts of the conquistadors—scenes of which the pristine, restored monuments we see today give little hint. 

Victims were sacrificed on the altars of the upper temples. Their hearts were extracted, still beating, from their bodies and burned in special containers amid clouds of copal incense. The corpses were then tumbled down the steep steps slick with blood—an essential element in pyramid design. 

In a couple of edgy paintings, loosely based on pyramidal structures, I attempted to convey some of the ambience that these monuments might have had in ancient times.

Teocalli Two: Fire, Blood and Copal (1980 & 2012)

©Richard D. Perry All rights reserved

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