The militaristic interpretations of the art of Chichen Itza, Yucatán, Mexico, fails to sufficiently describe its entire decorative program. Absent from discussions of the art tradition is the apparent focus on merchant activity in the city. The influence and power of merchants strengthened during the transition from the Classic to Postclassic in Mesoamerica. With an increase in demand of foreign goods, new exchange relationships developed between centers in Central Mexico, the Gulf, and Maya region. As a result, several cultural regions participated in a vast economic network that created political alliances and syncretic art styles. Focusing on the mural tradition of Chichen Itza, this study proposes a chronological sequence for the wall paintings by examining their style, subject matter, and architectural setting. Analysis of the painted images demonstrates the progressive development of merchant activity in the city and its influence in establishing Chichen Itza as one of the major centers of long-distance trade by the Terminal Classic.
- Chichen Itza,
- Terminal Classic,
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