The Zapotecs 


Zapotec seated figure B.C. 300 - 200  Monte Albain


The Zapotecs dominated the area around Oaxaca with their city of Monte Alban for centuries. Monte Alban was one of the more ancient Classic peried city states, with sites there as old as 600 B.C.

Terracotta jaguar 300-800 AD, Monte Alban.The Zapotecs were heavily influenced by the Olmecs, who also worshiped the jaguar. The collar around the neck shows that they were worshiped alive and in captivity .

After 650 A.D. Monte Alban was one of the most powerful cities in Mexico . Around the 800s, the city began to lose its power and by 900 A.D. the city was abandoned . However, the Zapotec culture still remained vigorous and other cities, such as their capital at Zaachila remained .The Zapotec city of Mitla are masterpieces of Classical architecture  with dazzling geometric patterns .


Wall mural at Mitla

Zapotec funerary urn 300-800 AD, Monte Albain. the Zapotecs built monumental tombs in which they placed urns with offerings, often with the face of the the deceased upon them .The headdress is a mask of the eagle and jaguar.


The Mixtecs




a Mixtec breast ornament, made with the lost wax method

In pre-Columbian times, the Mixtec were one of the major civilizations of Mesoamerica. Important ancient centers of the Mixtec include the ancient capital of Tilantongo, as well as the sites of Achiutla, Cuilapan, Huajuapan, Mitla, Tlaxiaco, Tututepec, Juxtlahuaca, and Yucuñudahui. The Mixtec also made major constructions at the ancient city of Monte Albán (which had originated as a Zapotec city before the Mixtec gained control of it). The work of Mixtec artisans who produced work in stone, wood, and metal were well regarded throughout ancient Mesoamerica.

 A Mixtec torquoise tile serpent, laid over wood