24 November 2021
It is well known that Mexico used to be a country colonized by the Spaniards, not only politically, but also spiritually. Fortunately, the Mesoamerican culture was so diverse and extensive that, even today, we can find beliefs and traditions from times related to rituals, sacrifice, and polytheism.
It is such a well-known fact that even the Day of the Dead has become a phenomenon of global interest in the world of entertainment. Its unique and loyal conceptualization of the past, intertwined with the modern worldview of Mexican people, makes the fearful death an old friend of this country.
Doctor Eduardo Matos Moctezuma talks about the charming Mexican symbolism that surrounds death with an excellent series of archaeological artifacts and anecdotes, not without first mentioning the four resting places for the pre-Hispanic deceased: the sun, for warrior men and women who died in labour; the Tlalocan, for those who died in the arms of the water; the Mictlán, along with its eight obstacles and rough four years of travel, for the people who passed away with a common death; and lastly, the nursing tree, which nurtured infants until they were able to embark on the mortal world once again.
With this introduction that contrasts the Catholic conception of heaven and hell, the presentation proceeds with photographs of codices, statues, tombs, urns, and a whole host of death-related paraphernalia that, ironically, have survived throughout countless mortal lives. Years of history were recovered through fragments that paint each of the colours that Mexican ancestors have used to decorate death; fragments that with great skill and enthusiasm are illustrated to us by Dr. Matos.
It is more than clear that, at the end of this magnificent conference, one will no longer be able to enclose death in a simple grey scale. What colourful form will your understanding of death take after this? Would you like to find out?