Site layout and architecture[ edit ] Tacana volcano as seen from Izapa to the north Izapa was a large site that included extensive monuments and architecture. From north to south, the whole site is about 1. This group contains a ballcourt among other structures, and corresponds to the late occupational phase of the site. The site included pyramids, sculptured plazas and squares, and possibly two ball courts.
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Site layout and architecture[ edit ] Tacana volcano as seen from Izapa to the north Izapa was a large site that included extensive monuments and architecture. From north to south, the whole site is about 1. This group contains a ballcourt among other structures, and corresponds to the late occupational phase of the site.
The site included pyramids, sculptured plazas and squares, and possibly two ball courts. There are two long open areas that resemble ball courts found at other Mesoamerican sites, but it is unclear if these two courts were used for the ballgame. Mound 30A was where a stepped pyramid was built. This pyramid was around ten meters high and probably used for religious and ceremonial purposes.
Izapa and other Mesoamerican civilizations[ edit ] Izapa and other sites from the Formative Period. Michael Coe describes Izapa as being a connective link between the Olmec and the early Maya. He supports his argument with the large amount of Olmec style motifs used in Izapan art , including jaguar motifs , downturned human mouths, St. Other archaeologists argue that there is not yet enough known to support Coe and that the term "Izapan Style" should only be used when describing art from Izapa.
Virginia Smith argues that Izapan art is too unique and different in style to be the result of Olmec influence or the precursor to Maya art. Smith says that Izapan art is very site specific and did not spread far from the site.
Izapan art most likely did indirectly influence Maya art, though it would just be one of the many influences on the Maya. Izapa is also included in the debate of the origin of the day calendar. The calendar was originally thought to be a Maya invention, but recently it has been hypothesized that calendar originated in Izapa. Izapan monumental art[ edit ] Stela 2 from Izapa Izapa gains its fame through its art style.
The art found at the site includes sculptures of stelae and also altars that look like frogs. The stelae and frog altars generally went together, the toads symbolized rain.
There are common characteristics of Izapan art, such as winged objects, long-lipped gods much like the Chaac of the Maya,  Olmec-like swirling sky and clouds, feline mouth used as frame, representation of animals crocodile, jaguar, frog, fish, birds , overlapping, and lack of dates. The sheer number of sculptures outweighs that of any contemporaneous site.
Garth Norman has counted 89 stelae, 61 altars, 3 thrones, and 68 "miscellaneous monuments at Izapa. In contrast to the ruler-oriented sculpture of the Epi-Olmec culture miles km across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec , Izapan sculpture has features mythological and religious subjects, and is ceremonial and frequently narrative in nature. Mixe—Zoque and Maya ] may have fostered the penchant for non-verbal communicative strategies. These glyphs have parallels with known Olmec symbols.
In Stela I, the god is walking on water while collecting fish into a basket and also wearing a basket of water on his back. Izapa Stela 2, like Stela 25, has been linked to the battle of the Maya Hero Twins against Vucub Caquix , a powerful ruling bird-demon of the Maya underworld, also known as Seven Macaw.
Izapa Stela 25 Izapa Stela 3 shows a deity wielding a club. This could be an early form of the Maya God K, who carried a staff. Izapa Stela 4 depicts a bird dance, which has a king being transformed into a bird.
The scene is most likely connected with the Principle Bird Deity. This transformation could symbolize shamanism and ecstasy, meaning the shaman-ruler used hallucinogens to journey to another world. The type of political system that was in place at Izapa is still unknown, though Stela 4 could suggest that a shaman was in charge.
This shaman-ruler would serve the role of both the political and religious leader. Izapa Stela 5 presents perhaps the most complex relief at Izapa. Central to the image is a large tree, which is surrounded by perhaps a dozen human figures and scores of other images. The complexity of the imagery has led some fringe researchers, particularly Mormon and "out of Africa" theorists, to view Stela 5 as support for their theories.
Izapa Stela 8 shows a ruler seated on a throne, which is located within a quatrefoil. The scene shown on Stela 8 is often compared to Throne 1, which was located by the central pillar of Izapa.
Stela 8 may be showing a ruler seated atop Throne 1. A striking parallel exists between the imagery of Chalcatzingo Monument 1 and Izapa Stela 8, both of which feature elite individuals enthroned within a quatrefoil. The Stela illustrates a warrior holding the head of a decapitated god. Izapa Stela 25 possibly contains a scene from the Popol Vuh. This scene is also shown on the Maya pot called the "Blowgunner Pot".
It is also suggested that Stela 25 could be seen as a map of the night sky, which was used to tell the story of the Hero Twins shooting the bird deity.
Drawings of the monuments at Izapa were first published in a pamphlet by Mexican professor Carlos A. Over four seasons of survey between and director Robert Rosenswig , a professor at the University at Albany , and his team used lidar light detection and ranging to map sites and collect surface ceramics to document changing population trends at Izapa and nearby areas.
This project contributed the first systematic economic data for the site. The accompanying plaques translates to "Gravestone of Izapa — Mayan culture — Preclassic Period — Description: Bas relief from Izapa depicting a person loading something. Represents a skeleton sitting with a unreadable. It is also named "the decapitated" Wikimedia Commons has media related to Izapa.
Izapa : an introduction to the ruins and monuments
This pyramid was around ten meters high and probably used for religious and ceremonial purposes. Formats and Editions of Izapa : an introduction to the ruins and monuments  Smith says that Izapan art is very site specific and did not spread far from the site. This page was last edited on 30 Octoberat This transformation could symbolize shamanism and ecstasy, meaning the shaman-ruler used hallucinogens to journey to another world. Preview — Izapa by Garth W.
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