Anales de Tepoztlán


The Legend of el Tepozteco in the murals of the "Hotel Chinelos"



This mural was painted between 1958 and 1960 by Sra. Brunhilde Roessler, commonly known as "Mummi". Her father, a German who arrived in Tepoztlan in 1942 intended to open the building as a tourist hotel and suggested a mural based on Tepoztecan themes and images. The project was abandoned after his death in 1960 and the building passed into other hands. It is not available to the public.

"Mummi" painted in acrylics. She sought information about el tepozteco from a variety of sources: local oral tradition, libraries, museum collections, and, to some extent, her own creative imagination.Born in 1925 and famous for her meticulous and graceful compositions in cut paper, she now lives a quiet life in the Valley of Atongo.

When Alfredo Martínez decided to tell the legend of el tepozteco on the 1994 Portada de Semillas using the organization and style of the ancient Mexican codices as an expressive language, he turned to this mural for information and inspiration for, as he says, there were not then the resources that Tepoztecans have now and nobody really knew how the codices portrayed such fundamental elements as water, wind, and various characters and places. A glance at his work reveals the strong influence of "Mommi"s" creation.


Scenes from the Legend of el Tepozteco


1 (lower) A maiden of noble birth bathes at Axitla where she is empregnated by Ehecatl, the god of wind;
2 (upper) Ashamed, her parents chastize and resolve that the baby must be eliminated.

3. (upper) When the baby is thrown on an ant hill, the ants protect and nourish it; when thrown onto the spines of a maguey plant, they drip their sweep sap into its mouth. Finally it is placed in a basket and tossed into a river where:
4. (lower) it is found an cherished by an elderly couple

5. (upper)The boy grows with magical rapidity and has uncanny skills as a hunter who provides for his adopted parents
6.(lower) but one day he returns to find that guards from the kingdom of Xochicalco have come to demand his elderly father, for the ruler of Xochicalco is a monster who eats old people.
7. El tepozteco insists on going to Xochicalco in place of his elderly adopted father. He tells the old couple where to look on the horizon for a smoke signal. If it is black, he has been defeated by the monster; if it is white he has been victorious. On the way (see above #3) he gathers sharp flakes of obsidion and puts them in his carrying bag. At Xochicalco the angry monster says he is no more than a snack. El tepozteco says if the monster will swallow him whole, he will jump right into the monster's mouth. He does and is swallowed.
8. (lower) With the obsidion flakes he cuts his way out of the monster's belly, slaying him, and emerges victorious.
9.(upper) As he has set free all the subject kingdoms of the region, he is crowned and respected by all.

10. (lower) As a reward for his efforts, he is given a chest with instructions that it must not be opened but must be buried in the plaza of Tepoztlan. He gives it to his assistants to take to Tepoztlan with strict instructions which, once in Tepoztlan, they disobey out of curiousity. The box contains doves, representing the riches that were meant for Tepoztlan, which fly off to other cities which become wealthy and powerful.
11.(upper) Nevertheless, el tepozcatl is a wise and humane warrior-ruler who resides at his monumental pyramid assisting Tepoztecans with his great powers to this day.


At the head of the stairs leading to the mural is this map of Tepoztlan surrounded by magnificent cliffs which Tepoztecans regard as sacred


Detail: Cuahnectepetl: the mountain of honey
Original drawing for the map-mural
Ocelotepetl: the Jaguar mountain

To Table of Contents