Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) eBook

Carl Sofus Lumholtz
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 450 pages of information about Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2).

(1) The clay is quite fine, of white colour, with a slightly grayish-yellow tinge.  The decorations are black and red, or black only.  This is the predominant type, and may be seen in Plates I. and II.; also Plate III., a.

(2) Of a very similar character, but somewhat coarser in texture, and heavier.  See Plate III., b to g, and Plate IV., f Both these groups include variations in the decorative designs, as may be seen in the rest of Plate IV.

(3) Brown pottery with black decorations.  See Plate V., a, b, c, and e.

(4) Black ware.

Here follows a condensed description of the more important specimens shown in the plates: 


Heights:  a, 18.5 cm; b, 15.2 cm; c, 16.2 cm; d, 18.8 cm; e, 11.3 cm; f, 8.5 cm.

a, particularly graceful in outline and decoration, is a representative type that is often found.

c, from Colonia Dublan, is made in the shape of a horned toad, the lizard so familiar to anyone who has visited the Southwest of the United States.  The head with its spikes, and the tail as well, are well rendered; the thorny prominences of the body are represented by the indentations around the edge.

d, the principal decoration here is the plumed serpent with a bird’s head.

e, a vase in the shape of a duck.

f, a bowl decorated only around the edge and in the interior.


Height, 16.5 cm.

Here is shown what, in regard both to manufacture and to decoration, is the best specimen in the collection.  Its principal ornaments are the plumed serpent and two birds, all clearly seen in the extension of the design above and below the vase.  The lower section is a continuation of the upper one.

The birds are represented as in flight.  Mr. M. H. Saville is probably right in considering them as quetzals, though the habitat of this famous trogon is Central America and the southernmost part of Mexico.  The bird and the serpent form the decoration of other jars of this collection and would indicate that the makers of this pottery were affiliated with the Aztecs in their adoration of the great deity Quetzalcoatl.


Heights:  a, 18.5 cm; b, 18 cm; c, 17 cm; d, 11 cm; e, 14.5 cm; f 15.3 cm; g, 24.2 cm.

c, a jar in the shape of a conventionalised owl.

d, a jar in the shape of a fish.

f is a much conventionalised representation of four horned toads.  Around its upper part it has two serpents, apparently coral snakes, attached in high relief.


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Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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