The Protada de Semillas of Tepoztlán in 1997
Before commencing to describe the various parts of this work, we want to mention that this is the fifth anniversary of this work, for which reason it is a summary of the four previous portadas with its main theme being the "ADORATION OF THE VIRGIN MARY OF THE NATIVITY," patron and benefactor of this pueblo. The reading of it begins on the lower part from left to right and thereafter proceeds upward.
Large image for printing(159k.) @ 150dpi
On the left border we have "THE BAPTISM OF EL TEPOZCATL" (son of the god of the wind), which took place at Axitla (place of the water-navel), a spot full of magic and mysticism, where Fr. Domingo de la Anunciación, of the Dominican order, the first missionaries to arrive here. This oral tradition has been transmitted from generation to generation until our days. It is said that it was on the 8th of September 1538 during the fiesta of the birth of Our Mother, that this friar baptized the legendary Tepozteco where later a monument called the "Cross of the Baptistery" was erected to mark the spot where this scene, represented in the style of the codices which ancient Mexicans drew, took place.
From among the hills are coming the prehispanic Tepoztecos accompanying with their faith and loyalty el Tepozteco's baptism, while Ehecatl (the wind god) sings a prayer to the Virgin Mary and the Dominicans say the holy rosary. The scene is framed by Quetzalcóatl (the plumed serpent) who our ancestors associated with wisdom and spirituality.
At the extreme right is El reto del Tepozteco. According to legend, a year later when El Tepoztecatl was joyously celebrating the anniversary of his baptism, solemnly honoring the birth of the Virgin, the kings or lords of Cuernavaca, Yautepec, Oaxtepec and Tlayacapan arrived to impetuously berate him, furious that he had betrayed their ancient beliefs and the cult which paid tribute to Ometochtli at the pyramid. Faced with this untimely interruption from his neighboring lords, El Tepozteco went out to answer the accusations that they made against him and was able to convince them that they also should be baptized and forget the ancient religion and move on to the Christian religion.
Drawn in the portada as it is in a codex, is the scene in which these lords are shown in their amour, making accusations against El Tepoztecatl who is atop his pyramid on the crest of a mountain where the wind blows at his command and generates his strong magic, convincing with his wise words his attackers to adopt the Christian religion and no long continue living in darkness but embracing the Christian faith.
This scene is bounded by Xiuhcóatl (the fire serpent), ally of Huitzilopochtgli, who is associated with power and war.
Passing to the central part of the composition, we have representations of the animals which symbolize the eight barrios of the community. At the extreme left, the frog, representing barrio Santo Domingo; the ant of the barrio of the Holy Trinity; the cacomixtle of barrio Santa Cruz; and the tlacuache of barrio San Pedro. The four animals surround the image of Santo Domingo de Guzman, founder of that religious order and forming part of the parish portada along with Santa Catalina de Sena who in a contemplative attitude worships the Virgin Mary and Santo Domingo accompanied by his faithful dog and carrying a torch. In the background is the emblem of the Dominicans, the "CROSS OF THE FOUR WINDS' with flor de lis arms in a two toned design.
At the other extreme we have the remaining animals and symbols. First the ear of corn which represents barrio San José, the lizard of barrio San Miguel, the scorpion of barrio San Sebast\ían, and finally the maguey worm which represents the barrio of the Three Kings.
We emphasize that the distribution of the animal symbols of the barrios conforms to their astronomic orientation and that our ancestors designated the eight symbols or animals which represent the barrios according to the barrios's geographic location. These designations were made in prehispanic times. They observed the behavior of the animals as the seasons changed and took advantage of these, principally to predict the weather and apply their predictions to ceremonial activities and to the time for sowing.
Equally, the four last mentioned symbols surround the image of Santa Catalina de Siena, who offers her heart to the Virgin, and form an eight pointed start which is associated with the emblem of the Dominicans. At the crest is María de la Natividad with the child, seated on a throne composed of a sun which serves as a backrest and a moon which forms the base, very much in the Spanish manner.
Alongside the Virgin there are two rabbits with the maguey cactus which represents Ometochtli. They are guardians of the Virgin. The composition rests on a white cloud from which a prehispanic sun and moon project, accompanying the Virgin in the firmament.
María Natividad extends her right hand, blessing El Tepozteco's baptism, while the Child is distracted by the world held in her hands. We finish with an explication of the figures at the periphery, beginning with the dogs with torches at the sides, designated by the Christian religion as guardians of the faith and the torch which symbolizes light. Above are the angles who sustain the firmament, who are also to be seen on the facade of the church and who are incorporated into the design because they reflect the fusion of the two cultures: the Spanish in the angel's human body and the prehispanic in the wings which evoke the eagles carved by the lexicons.
Finally, the arch is crowned by twelve stars which complete the firmament, arranged in the manner of a codex, which can be interpreted as if they were a flower, but they are not. Each star represents one of the year's months and their disposition recalls the crows of the temples on pyramids, which adds a more Mexican character.
When we know our history better
When there is light in place of shadow
Then Tepoztlán will be the glory
Of all the legends which amaze us now.
Rafael Carillo Campos
Alfredo Martinez Rojas
Comite General de Comerciantes
Simón Rojas Ortiz
Gilberto Ortiz Trejo
María Flores García
Ignacio Campos Lnares
Gerardo Noriega V.
Marino Medina Lezo
Idea and Design
Arturo Demesa Ortiz
Rafael Carillo Campos
Emiliano Flores Navarete
Juan Carlos Sedano Valencia
Hnos. Isidro y Víctor Flores Ayala
Amigos de Tepoztlán
Cecilia Cortés López
Nazario Castañeda Morales
Mónica Lara Labista
Funding and Gluing of Seeds
Independent Union of Small Merchants
Tianouixtli Union of Merchants
Union of Artisans, North Side
Union of Merchants, plaza of the municipal hall
Union of Druggists
Union of Bakers
Note: Two hundred to 350 people glued seeds, among them artisans,
merchants and volunteers.