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May 01, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE GREAT TEMPLE OF THE AZTECS: Treasures of Tenochtitlan by Eduardo Matos Moctezuma (Thames & Hudson: $19.95; 192 pp.) and TEOTIHUACAN: Art From the City of the Gods by Kathleen Berrin & Elizabeth Pasztory (Thames & Hudson: $24.95; 288 pp., paperback original). The catalogue of a 1993 exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, "Teotihuacan" focuses on the great metropolis that flourished near the site of modern Mexico City between about 50 and 750 A.D. Its people left an extraordinary legacy of art that includes frescoes, carved stone masks and intricate ceramic vessels. One of the largest cities in the world during the Middle Ages, Teotihuacan influenced the later cultures of Meso-America, including the Aztecs, who built their of Tenochtitlan capitol south of its ruins. Moctezuma describes the latest archeological discoveries at the Great Temple, an enormous pyramid dedicated to Tlaloc, the rain god, and to Huitzilopochtli, the god of sun and war. Rebuilt at least six times over decades, the Great Temple has yielded a grimly dazzling trove of ceremonial objects.

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