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Chichén Itzá: Chacmool on the Temple of the Warriors


When the Toltecs came to Yucatán from the Valley of Mexico in about AD 950-1000, they made Chichén Itzá their capital, building the Temple of the Warriors modelled on the Temple of Quetzalcoatl at Tula.


At the top of the steps in front of the Temple of the Warriors is a reclining statue of a type named “Chacmool” by the 19th century French archaeologist Auguste Le Plongeon. This term has remained in general use in spite of its equivocal meaning. The figures, with basins on their laps for offerings, appear to represent captive nobles rather than being related to the Maya rain god Chac (or the color red, another meaning of "chac"). Over a dozen reclining Chacmool sculptures are known at Chichén Itzá, and similar figures occur at Tula. The rectangular columns behind the Chacmool show relief carvings of Toltec warriors.


[Fig.1: Statue of a Chacmool on the Temple of the Warriors at Chichén Itzá (photo: Athena Review).

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