Visiting Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion?

You must join the virtual exhibition queue when you arrive. If capacity has been reached for the day, the queue will close early.

Learn more

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History Essays

Teotihuacan: Mural Painting

Teotihuacan’s murals constitute a primary source for understanding the city’s religion and social organization. Found throughout the city on the walls of apartment compounds such as Tetitla, the paintings depict a wide range of images centered around two major deities: a female known as the Great Goddess and a male known as the Storm God (or Tlaloc). The Great Goddess is usually depicted frontally, with additional motifs pertaining to agricultural fertility. The Storm God is usually shown in profile and is identified by his distinctive face mask and the lightning bolt carried in his left hand. Animals, including coyotes, owls, and jaguars, are also prominent in the murals. The paintings were laid down quickly on thinly plastered walls. Red dominates the color scheme, although blues, yellows, and greens appear. The style is flat and linear, and the primary deities often appear in abbreviated versions. The abundance of smaller motifs may have constituted a pictorial notational system, but Teotihuacan is remarkable for its apparent lack of a writing system comparable to that seen in the Maya realm or at Monte Albán.