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11277 - The Tamtok Scroll Style: Assessing the Relationship between the Huasteca and Classic Veracruz

In 1953 and 1954, Tatiana Prokouriakoff published two seminal articles defining the “Classic Veracruz Style” and its variations based on the analysis of sculptures with entrelaces or interlaced scroll designs. Prokouriakoff’s analysis focused on sculptures from the Classic Veracruz heartland, but also included one monument with interlaced scrolls from the Huasteca, Tamtok Stela 4. Since then, many more sculptures with entrelaces have been excavated at Tamtok—a major site in southern San Luis Potosí—including the recently discovered and much debated Monument 32. A close stylistic analysis of the Tamtok scroll style supports Prokouriakoff’s hypothesis that the Huastec scroll style is related to the Classic Veracruz scroll style.

This presentation establishes that Tamtok sculptures present a local variant of the Classic Veracruz style. Yet, at the same time, these sculptures are distinctly Huastec because they usually represent monumental human figures as the primary motif alongside the scroll design and do not appear to be explicitly linked to the ballgame, as Classic Veracruz sculptures with scroll designs typically are. The argument therefore is that the Huasteca cultivated relationships with the Classic Veracruz heartland but remained an autonomous region. This analysis of the sculptural evidence from Tamtok sheds new light on the relationship between the Huasteca and Veracruz and redresses the frequent omission of the Huastec region in discussions about cultural interactions along the Gulf Coast.

Keywords: Tamtok, Huasteca, Scroll Style, Classic Veracruz

Author: Richter, Kim (Getty Research Institute, Ud States of Am / USA)

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