City of gods


The history of Teotihuacan, the “City of the Gods”, extends from 150 B.C.E. to 650 C.E. Its peak lasted more than four centuries, from 100 to 550 C.E. Situated some 40 kilometers from the heart of current day Mexico City, this formidable religious, economic, and political capital, that extended over some 20 square kilometers, included between 80,000 and 100,000 inhabitants at that time. The prestige and authority of the largest city in the New World extended far through space and time: over 1500 kilometers southeast, towards the Maya country and survived until the Aztecs and the 16th century Conquest.

The ruins of the metropolis were explored in the 17th century during the New Spain period. Since the 1980s, large excavation projects have focused on some of the most important monuments including the Citadel, the Way of the Dead, the pyramid of the Feathered Serpent (Quetzalcóatl), the pyramid of the Moon and Xalla group and, recently, even the pyramid of the Sun, as well as a selection of its 1000 living complexes. These findings have revealed an infinity of new objects, sometimes of stupefying beauty. They have also profoundly renewed the ideas about this city and the civilization it engendered, without however providing answers to all the questions that arise, particularly in relation to its decline and fall.

For the first time, a comprehensive and seminal book illustrates the wealth and beauty of a civilization that is both tangible and full of mystery and where cosmology and cosmogony meet. Teotihuacan reflects the image of the universe as a gigantic cosmogram. In so doing, it seems to embody the origin of the Aztec world.

A group of studies paints a living picture of this lost civilization, followed by an annotated catalogue raisonné of the exhibited works.


480 pages • 24,5 x 29,5 cm • 42,60 €
Co-published by musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac / Somogy 2009
ISBN: 9782757202951