Patricia Grady Cox
January 15, 2019
While working on my current novel, I thought it would be interesting to have my characters raid ancient Mexican pyramids and steal anything that looked valuable. It just so happened that the Phoenix Art Museum was having a special exhibit, TEOTIHUACAN: CITY OF WATER, CITY OF FIRE with artifacts from those ancient pyramids. Now, I would have gone anyway because “Aztec” by Gary Jennings is one of my all-time favorite books, but now I had a “writing business” reason. However, I soon realized that having my characters wandering all the way down to Mexico City just wouldn’t work with my time line.
However, I really wanted to use what I had learned from the exhibit. It occurred to me that my outlaws could be smuggling these artifacts to collectors in the eastern United States. They didn’t actually do the excavating, just pay others for the stolen items and then sell them. Voila!
Porfirio Diaz, President of Mexico at the time of my story (1882), was a supporter of archaeological research of the Aztec empire. Surely any good outlaw would see the value in these ancient artifacts? And surely that would give the Federales even more reason to be after my people! Yay!
Sometimes a problem is not a problem. It’s a way to an even more interesting solution!
Many feline sculptures were uncovered,along with human sacrifices, near the Sun Pyramid. Large predatory felines, particularly jaguars, were associated with fire or the sun. This particular mosaic is made of volcanic stone, stucco, and pigments. It’s called the Jaguar of Xalla. I would estimate it was about four feet high and five feet wide. Love the paws and teeth!
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