Curator Lecture: "Mapping Teotihuacan", by Hillary Olcott
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Plan of the Teotihuacan Valley drawn by Ignacio Marquina. Gamio, Manuel, ed. 1922. La población del Valle de Teotihuacán. 3 vols. Mexico City: Dirección de Talleres Gráficas, Secretaría de Educación Pública: vol. 1, pl. 1
Teotihuacan was never lost and then rediscovered but was a place that was known by its neighboring residents likely since the city’s beginnings. The earliest known pictorial representations of the site date to the mid-16th century. These, as well as later 19th and 20th century depictions, show Teotihuacan as a ceremonial space with monumental pyramids. It was not until the 1960s that Teotihuacan came to be understood as a city, and not just a city but the largest urban environment in the Western Hemisphere during its time. This concept was formed by the Teotihuacan Mapping Project, spearheaded by Rene Millon, and then widely disseminated by way of their 1973 volume, The Teotihuacan Map. This map has been reproduced in nearly every subsequent publication about the site. It forms an image of Teotihuacan as a metropolis and is the foundation for much of what we know about the site as an urban space. But maps are not empirical. They are tools of communication, created for a specific purpose. This presentation will discuss the maps of Teotihuacan and the circumstances surrounding their creations. Through an exploration of the maps contexts, we can learn more about cartographic trends, sociopolitical changes in Mexico, and the shifting views of Teotihuacan.
Hillary Olcott is the assistant curator of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
$3 members, $4 non-members. No reservations. Cash only at the Koret entrance.
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