Misc. Sites

Yucatan, Mexico historic print

Yucatan, Mexico historic print

Yucatan, Mexico historic print

Image by Frederick Catherwood for the 1843 two volume edition of Incidents of Travel in the Yucatan by John Lloyd Stephens. Shows that the painting of skulls, usually identified with the trans-Alpine region and especially with Hallstatt, Austria, was widely practiced in the Catholic world in the nineteenth century, even being found in churches in Southern Mexico. I used this image in the book to make the same point. The notes Stephens makes about charnel in the Yucatan are fascinating, but they do not survive and there is little historical record of them outside of his book. It makes it hard to say whether the painting of skulls in particular should be related in some way to the European practice, or whether it was in the Yucatan a syncretism with some little know regional tradition. The charnels in the Yucatan would be a fascinating history to try to recover, but it is probably impossible.
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