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Reclining male sculptures: The mesoamerican Chacmool


 One of the most distinctive types of Mesoamerican sculptures is that called Chacmool, representing reclining human figures holding vessels on the stomach. Chacmools have been found in Central and West Mexico as well as in the Maya region. 

What was their function among the Toltecs, Maya and the Aztecs? Did they serve as platforms for human sacrifice or just to place offerings in the vessels? Why are they all male sculptures? These reclining sculptures became one of the most important sources of inspiration in the work of Henry Moore.

Elizabeth Baquedano has written several books and articles on the Aztecs, and curated an exhibition for Henry Moore’s Centenary at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She is a lecturer at University College London, Institute of Archaeology and at the Institute for the Study of the Americas.

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