Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Project: Teotihuacan Mask

Paper mask inspired by stone mask found at Teotihuacan
Not far from Mexico City, lie the ruins of another great city, Teotihuacan, the center of an ancient Mexican culture that developed 2,000 years ago (long before the Aztecs) on the high plateau of central Mexico.  A rich and diverse culture thrived at Teotihuacan.  The remains of stone and adobe buildings show where people lived, worked, and worshiped.  Sculptures, carvings, and multicolored paintings help us to learn about their beliefs and customs.  Pottery, tools, baskets, jewelry, and other items tell us about their daily lives.  One of the most beautiful treasures discovered at Teotihuacan is a stone mask, encrusted with turquoise, red shell, mother of pearl, and obsidian.
Teotihuacan Mask, Photo by R. Hewett
When I visited Vintage Science Magnet School recently in Los Angeles, I learned that a fifth grade class had read my book City of the Gods: Mexico’s Ancient City of Teotihuacan, illustrated with photos by Richard Hewett.  Then, using a photo of the mask as a guide, they had created their own work of art using pieces of colored paper to reproduce the mask shown in the book.  It is a stunning piece of art and helps call to mind the glory of this ancient culture.

My book is out of print, but you can look for it in your library. (Teotihuacan is pronounced Tay-oh-tee-wha-KAHN.) And, perhaps, you can make your own version of the beautiful mask in the book!

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