Culture and Arts Mexico

Culture and Arts Mexico

Pre-Columbian civilizations

Mexico has one of the densest and most magnificent concentrations of civilizations.

The Olmecs

The OlmeC civilization.

The so-called "classic" civilizations

La civilization of TeotihuacáC., when many villages in the reAmerica.

L & rsquomêmes saw themselves jostled between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries by Toltecs, whose warrior center was in Tula.

Further south, in the region including the Aztecs (XNUMXth century).

The Mayan Empire


Here is one of the most important pre-Columbian civilizations along with those of the Aztecs and the Incas. It has distinguished itself by its advances in the fields ofwriting, theArticle, thearchitecture, theagriculture and astronomy... His mastery of mathematics has had repercussions until the present day.

Aspects of civilization

The Mayans had a hieroglyphic writing elaborate, but it is above all thanks to frescoes like those of Bonampak that we have learned about their history. They did not know iron and the use of the wheel for work because they did not own any draft animals, and their tools were of neolithic type.


Decline, renewal and end

Towards the tenth century.

Around 1200, began a period of divisions and revolts. They resulted in the fall of Chichén Itzá and the collapse, in 1441, of the city of Mayapán, then the seat of the league that dominated the new empire.

Conflicts with the Spaniards associated with vulnerability to imported diseases completed the reduction of the Mayan population of Yucatán to around 160 in 000.

The Aztecs

The first American

Mythology attributes to them the founding of Mexico-Tenochtitlán in 1325. The Aztecs are in reality only one of the many barbarian tribes from the north to settle in the valley during the XNUMXth century (like the Chichimecs). They were even the last to arrive ...

In the states of Texcoco and Tacuba.

Very quickly, they took the reins of this three-headed league, the Aztec sovereign intervening more and more in the dynastic and political affairs of his 2 allies.

From fishing to war

Originally fishermen and hunters, the Aztecs gradually became a warrior people. Synthesis of Toltec and classical cultures (Teotihuacán), the Aztec civilization is distinguished by a particular development: its omnipresent warlike character. TheAztec empire was not really centralized, but rather structured as a confederation of cities and provinces responding to a military power.

The sacrifices

For the Aztecs, the creation of the world and of man is not a gift but the fruit of a sacrifice of the gods. The man therefore sees himself in the obligation to recompense this gift by a certain number of propitiatory rites. The way to rise to the height of divine effort is from him offer one's own blood.

It is for this reason that human sacrifices are essential, since man would not exist without the gods. Human sacrifices which, with the growth of the empire, took on more and more importance in the social and religious life of the Aztecs.

Originally, the war had expansionist aims, but very quickly she became essentially religious, intended to take prisoners ... for the human sacrifices.

The Venice of the Americas

The AztèTenochtitlán numbered at least 300 inhabitants. It was probably the biggest city in the world, in front of Constantinople or Paris. Excellent engineers and builders, the Aztecs had succeeded in creating a floating city which dazzles the Spaniards with its grandeur and beauty.

The pantheon of the gods

Many gods reAmerica and, of course, for the Aztecs. These are Quetzalcóatl (god of Life and Air, creator of humanity) and Huitzilopochtli (god of the Sun and War). We must add Tezcatlipoca (the villain of the story).

A compartmentalized and disciplined society

Aztec society was thus perfectly organized in castes.

THEagriculture held, of course, a extremely important place. The Aztecs had understood and developed the principle of fertilizing the earth.

Within society, artisans formed a large and separate class.

For this lakeside city, the submission of the provinces of the empire was a vital necessity since it made it possible not only to recover spoils of war and to raise tributes, but also and above all to ensure the security of trade routes.

The corporation of merchants, the pochtecas, had a special status and enjoyed important privileges.


Pre-Columbian architecture

The basic structure of pre-Columbian architecture is the pyramid.

The Mexican pyramids have nothing to do with those of ancient Egypt. They have no funeral vocation and are intended to get closer to the gods and / or to demonstrate the greatness of the sovereign. Built in the heart of what is called the ceremonial center, they are above all the bases on which temples were erected.
At the top, there were also altars and sculptures representing the gods. 

With the exception of the Pyramid of the Sun of Teotihuacán, it was the Mayans who built the largest pyramids: temple IV of the Guatemalan site of Tikal (in Guatemala) dominates the tropical forest at 65 m and that of Calakmul, the rival site in the south of the Yucatán peninsula, 55 m!

L & rsquosud, so that the doors of the buildings opened at sunrise and sunset, in line with the sun. This principle has been taken up by all subsequent civilizations.
Astonishing phenomenon, the pre-Columbian peoples of Mexico never destroyed in order to rebuild: they rather "coated" the existing monuments.

Colonial architecture

The Spaniards naturally imported hence its name, plata meaning "money".

At the expense of 1725) which will also leave its name to qualify the ultrabaroque: the churrigueresque style. Many Mexican church facades, extremely ornate, are in the Churrigueresque style.

Do not hide the Arab influence in Spain either until the end of the XNUMXth century, which suddenly spread to Mexico. The Moorish influence in the tropical architecture of Latin America is the Mudejar style. The use of azulejos, these famous painted earthenware tiles, is a manifestation of this.

Finally, there is the specific influence of Indians that the colonists employed as craftsmen, especially at the beginning of the Conquest. The latter used their own cosmogonic references for the decoration of the churches. And so it is not uncommon to see cherubs with indigenous features or garlands of ... tropical fruits!

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