Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico

Resnick Pavilion
April 1, 2012–July 1, 2012

Children of the Plumed Serpent: the Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico follows the historical trajectory of the life and epic stories of the culture-hero and deity, Quetzalcoatl. The exhibition examines the art and material objects of late pre-Columbian and early colonial societies across Mexico to explore Quetzalcoatl’s role as founder and benefactor of the Nahua-, Mixtec-, and Zapotec-dominated kingdoms of southern Mexico. These socially and culturally complex communities successfully resisted both Aztec and Spanish subjugation, flourishing during an era of unprecedented international entrepreneurship and cultural innovation. On view are painted manuscripts (codices), polychrome ceramics, textiles, and exquisite works of gold, turquoise, and shell that reflect the achievements of the Children of the Plumed Serpent.

Introduction | The World of Tula and Chichen Itza | The New Tollan | Feasting, Divination, and Heroic History | Avenues of Trade and the Spread of the International Style | The Aztec Conquest and the Spanish Incursion

This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ethnic Arts Council of Los Angeles, and by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
 The Los Angeles presentation was made possible in part by LACMA’s Wallis Annenberg Director’s Endowment Fund.
The organizers are grateful for the special collaboration of the National Council for Culture and the Arts (CONACULTA), Mexico, and the National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH), Mexico.

Image: Architectural Ornament in the Form of a Cut Shell, Mexico, Tenochtitlan, 1400–1521, Museo del Templo Mayor, Mexico City, photo © Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (CONACULTA-INAH-MEX).

Turquoise Mosaic Shield
Mexico, Puebla, Acatlan
AD 1100–1521, Mixtec
Effigy Censer of Xolotl
Mexico, Yucatan, Mayapan
AD 1200–1500, Maya
Codex Selden
Mexico, Western Oaxaca
AD 1556–1560
Finger Ring Depicting Xipe Totec
Mexico, Oaxaca
AD 1000–1500, probably Mixtec

From Ancient Mexico to Today: Mole and Mezcal

When I first met with Victoria Lyall, associate curator of Latin American art, last year to discuss the exhibition Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico, the topic of food and feasting came up continually. This past weekend, we hosted a mole and mezcal tour in conjunction with the exhibition...

Artists Respond: Yucef Merhi on Children of the Plumed Serpent

The latest in our Artists Respond series, web-based projects that take art at LACMA as their jumping-off point, is by Yucef Merhi. Yucef chose to respond to Children of the Plumed Serpent. You’ll find his project here (be sure to turn up your speakers, as there is a significant sound element, and we advise using Firefox, Safari or Chrome)...