#MexicoToday: It seems that the ancient people of Chalcatzingo, located about 60 miles south of Mexico City, fostered some serious artists. Since the 1930’s, more than 40 large stone carvings have been found in the area in which they lived. Just recently, a new five foot by three-and-a-half foot carving has been discovered, which has been deemed “spectacular” by archeologists familiar with these types of works. The carving depicts three felines, thought to be either jaguars or mountain lions, who are reported to have supernatural traits such as “flamed eyebrows,” associated with the ancient Olmec customs.
The Chalcatzingo, who flourished around 1500 to 400 B.C., were not technically Olmecs themselves, but it is believed that the Chalcatzingo traded heavily with the Olmecs and adopted many of their customs and beliefs. While several of the carvings found in the Chalcatzingo region do contain Olmec symbols, however, the Chalcatzingo carvings differ in that they were usually carved as raised figures on a flat background (as shown in the image above). The Olmec works, in contrast, were usually carved as three-dimensional sculptures.
Interestingly enough, this new-found carving, deemed the “Triad of Felines” by its finders, is believed to be just a piece in a much larger display. Scientists are theorizing that the Triad of Felines was a part of a massive frieze built into the Chalcatzingo hill, which overlooks the region. The frieze is thought to have served as sort of a “spiritual billboard” along a pilgrimage route up the countryside.
Month after month, the ancient cultures of Mexico continue to offer fresh insight into their cultures through artifacts like this Triad of Felines. Archeological travel enthusiasts have been rejoicing as this discovery comes just months after two sculptures of Mayan Warriors were discovered at Toniná and new photographs were taken inside an ancient tomb at Palenque, continually exemplifying the profound travel experiences available in Mexico today.
You can read more about the Triad of Felines at National Geographic