I See You

September 23rd, 2020

If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with me through Chichén Itzá! It’s such a large and significant Mayan site, it would be difficult to write just one post about it. I find it easier to grasp in smaller chunks and more fun to keep the journey going for a bit in these times of no travel.

Frieze of the Nunnery Complex, Chichén Itzá

Frieze of the Nunnery Complex, Chichén Itzá

On-site drawing of the frieze

On-site drawing of the frieze

Frieze of the Nunnery Complex, Chichén Itzá

Frieze of the Nunnery Complex, Chichén Itzá

After yesterday’s look at La Iglesia, today we’re pulling faces at the Nunnery Complex which encompasses all the structures of the area. The Puuc architectural style is evident throughout with lattice patterns, zigzags, X shapes and elaborate carvings in stone, but the more remarkable element of this area is the number of faces on every surface. Look first for the eyes or maybe the appropriately named “bignosed” masks extending from the corners, then find the open mouth and see the face.

Within each face is another smaller face — the image of man within the image of a Mayan god, resting on the bridge of the nose. With prolific reference to decapitation throughout Chichén Itzá, featuring only the heads does show continuity. Above them, a serpent or a row of flowers. Maybe a symbol of masculine or feminine qualities? As we learned at Cobá, women and men both held powerful positions in society and may have been honored here with their faces in stone.

Face of the Nunnery Complex

Face of the Nunnery Complex

Face of the Nunnery Complex

Face of the Nunnery Complex

Face of the Nunnery Complex

Face of the Nunnery Complex

Tomorrow, we’ll explore the Group of the Thousand Columns before moving on to the ball court.

Until then,
Kelly

Post of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together. This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you while staying close to home.

16 comments

  • Thanks for the guided tour, these heavily carved walls become much more interesting when looked at in detail. See you tomorrow for the next stop.

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  • Glad you are spreading out the Mayan love — these buildings are incredible. And thanks for telling me to look for eyes and facial structures — so cool!!! You must be exhausted writing so much, but we readers are glad you are promoting travel, even if it is armchair travel!

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    • Thanks so much, Rusha! Writing every day is a labor of love! And these posts about Mayan culture are not the easiest to write with so much detailed history to share. But so fun knowing people are seeing and learning something new. Maybe it will inspire some to go here when travel resumes. And when we’re done with the Mayan posts, I’m moving on to something easier, LOL! 🙂

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  • Wonderful to see all the details in the carvings. Thanks for the great documentation of such an important piece of history. Imagine, a society in which women and men held honored positions in society and celebrated in this way. If only we were witnessing more of that today. Best wishes.

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    • Cheers to that thought, Andrew. Deb was just saying a similar thing in one of his comments — upon seeing all this and knowing how much the Maya accomplished, have we “lost pace” or gone backwards in our current lives? In some ways, it feels like we have sadly. Thanks for your comment!

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  • Your posts on the Mayan civilisation are such epics, with such intricate details! I leave time aside at the end of my workday, when there is nothing else to tend to, so that I can carefully grasp all the details. It has been absolute next best to be able to see these mystic ruins with my own eyes (maybe even more) because I am not sure I could have grasped so much details or would have studied on it so much if I had visited first hand.

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    • Thank you so much for your thoughts and for appreciating all that I’ve included in these posts. It makes me so happy to know that something I’m sharing from this side of the world is reaching you at heart all the way on the other side of the world. How cool! That is the essence of blogging and connecting with this wonderful community of writers and readers. ♥ Thanks, Deb.

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  • Pingback: Caracol, Columns & Keystone |

  • We were to see Chichén Itzá on our trip, but thanks to Covid, I can’t face it.

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