Monday, November 14, 2016


The Aztec Glyphs Mural Project by Zacatlan Artists
To beautify the pantheon’s back stonewall

Located on the backside of the Pantheon, measuring 135 linear feet by an average 13 feet in height, an L shaped rough stonewall over Tunnel Road became the canvas for “Living in the Nahuatl Universe.” 

Local artists created the mural-glyphs, a number of which were photographed by Howard Frank for the Wilmette Arts Guild.  Mr. Frank’s photographs removed the background tiles in order to highlight the designs.


Cipactli Artists: Zefe Cruz Pérez and Miry Barrios Becerra

 In Aztec mythology Cipactli was a primeval sea monster, part crocodilian, part fish and part toad or frog with indefinite gender. Always hungry, every joint on its body was adorned with an extra mouth. The deity Tezcatlipoca sacrificed a foot when he used it as bait to draw the monster nearer. He and Quetzalcoatl created the earth from its body. Exerpted from Wikipedia

Omecihuatl and Ometecuhtli  
Artists: Güicho Olvera and Mary Carmen Olvera Trejo 
                                                       Photo: Howard Frank

In Aztec mythology the Creator-Gods are the four sons of the creator couple Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, "Lord and Lady of Duality, Father and Mother of us all," who received the gift of creation, to create other living things. They had four children, the four Tezcatlipocas: Xipe Totec, the red; Tezcatlipoca, the black; Quetzalcoatl; the white and Huitzilopochtli; the blue.

Each of the four sons took a turn as Sun: the sun of earth, the sun of air, the sun of fire and the sun of water (Tlaloc, rain god replaces Xipe-Totec). Each world was destroyed. The present era, the Fifth Sun was ushered in when a lowly god, Nanahuatzin sacrificed himself in fire and became Tonatiuh, the Fifth Sun. In an elaborate ceremony, Quetzalcoatl cut the hearts out of each of the gods and offered each to Tonatiuh  (and the moon Meztli). All of this occurred in the ancient and sacred, pre-Aztec city of Teotihuacan. It was predicted that eventually, like the previous epochs, this one would come to a cataclysmic end. Exerpted from Wikipedia
Mictlan: The Place of the Dead
Artists:  Miguel Díaz Guerrero and Toñita Hernández
                                                Photo: Howard Frank  

Mictlan was the Aztec underworld, ruled over by its Lord and Lady. It was a gloomy place, reached by the dead only after wandering for four years beneath the earth, accompanied by a "soul-companion", a dog which was customarily cremated with the corpse.  From Mythweb

Tonatiuh Artists: Miguel Díaz Guerrero and Toñita Hernández
Photo: Howard Frank

Aztec theology held that each sun was a god with its own cosmic era. The Aztecs believed they were still in Tonatiuh's era. According to the Aztec creation myth, the god demanded human sacrifice as tribute and without it would refuse to move through the sky. Tonatiuh: the Aztecs believed that four suns were created in previous cosmic cycles, and that all had died at the end of each cycle. Tonatiuh represented the fifth sun, the current cycle.  Wikipedia
Colibri: “Hummingbird"
Artists:  Zefe Cruz Pérez and Miry Barrios Becerra
                                                            Photo: Howard Frank

Left Handed Hummingbird or Hummingbird South: Symbol of resurrection among the Aztec warriors who died fighting valiantly, accompanied the sun on its way across the sky and returned to life as hummingbirds.

Artists: Erika Berra Simoni and Oswaldo Olvera Trejo
                                                        Photo: Dick Davis
Huitzilopochtli: God of war, the Aztecs believed that dead warriors were returning to life as hummingbirds and the south was “left” in their world. South warrior, who returned from the dead, led the people of Aztlan from the north and ordered them to found their city where they encountered and eagle perched on a nopal cactus devouring a snake

Thirteen Heavens and Nine Underwolds
Artists:  Jorge Gutierrez Ordoñez and Oscar Cazares González
                                         Photo: Dick Davis
For the Aztecs, there were 13 heavens and nine underworlds.  Gods and other mythological beings inhabited each realm. 

The Tree of Life
Artist: Don Julio Cruz Nieto
Photo: Mary Carmen Olvera

The Tree of Life, from the east side, which is not plastered, is shaped with river stones and red volcanic rock.

Artists: Miguel Díaz Guerrero, Toñita Hernández, Oscar Cazares González, 
Zefe Cruz Pérez and Miry Barrios Becerra.   
Photo: Dick Davis

Tlalocan, an Aztec heaven reserved for those drowned or killed by storms. This was the realm that provided happiness for the souls of the dead who spent their time eating, playing games and singing. After four years, they were reborn, allowing the possibility of improved status giving access to a higher heaven later on. Edited from Mythology

Teocalli and Quetzalcoatl
Artists: Erika Berra Simoni, Oswaldo Olvera Trejo, Jorge Gutiérrez Ordoñez, 
Raúl Sánchez Marchena, Don Juilo Cruz Nieto, Arq. Manuel Aldana Zarate. 
Photo Dick Davis

Teocalli (house of God) consisted of a base, a framed wall, a pair of pilasters and a cornice, topped by a frieze.

Quetzalcoatl, the feathered snake, a primal god and benefactor of man embarked on a journey in search of seeds. When he returned he brought products from the land and sea, gave them to the man and said: "I give you the seeds you can sow; I give you water and produce to feed your people.” (Quetzalcoatl, seen above, was made in three dimensions and the eye is obsidian.)

Artists: Mary Carmen Olvera Trejo, Arq. Manuel Aldana Zarate, 
Güicho Olvera and Raúl Sánchez Marchena
Photo: Howard Frank

Tlalticpac, the earth square, surrounded by divine water, is supported by four gods: East: Tlaloc, god of lightning and rain, West: by Quetzalcoatl, god of wind, South:  Huitzilopochtli, god of war, North: Tezcatlipoca, god of   night. Center: the Tonalpohualli, or day-count, has been called a sacred calendar because its main purpose is that of a divinatory tool. It divides the days and rituals between the gods.