Artist/maker unknown, Mexican, Teotihuacan

Made in central Mexico, Mexico, North and Central America

1st century CE - 600


29 inches × 6 feet 6 inches (73.7 × 198.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    The central ceremonial avenue at Teotihuacan was surrounded by apartment complexes whose walls were painted with brightly colored frescoes. So many have been discovered that the metropolis is often called the painted city." The immediacy of the murals was achieved by the use of mica-laden hematite and malachite pigments and by the fresco technique itself, which demands that images be executed before the wet plaster on which they are painted has dried. Each wall was decorated with a procession of repeated single figures moving in the same direction. Although humans occasionally appear, supernatural animal imagery predominates. The fantastic creatures on this mural fragment are dynamically posed plumed coyotes with pictographs representing speech emanating from their mouths. The striped circular and oval motifs are heraldic in nature and relate to the specific clan that inhabited the apartment on which the mural originally appeared. Allen Wardwell, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 348.