Sunday, May 12, 2019
The Palace of Fine Arts, Mexico City's premier cultural center, was begun in 1904. The exterior was designed by an Italian architect in the Art Nouveau style that was popular at the time. The interior was not finished until the 1930s. It is done in Art Deco style with a number of pre-Hispanic elements such as light panels in the form of the Mayan god Chac. The exterior, however, is very European and would be at home in Paris.
That is why I was surprised when I saw a couple of Mexican details on the façade that I had never noticed before.
Above the arches to either side of the central entrance you will find the faces of Aztec warriors. They are members of the elite Order of Eagles and Order of Jaguars. Their uniforms resembled those animals, so their faces appear to be emerging from the beak of an eagle and the mouth of a jaguar. Notice also the serpents which were an animal sacred in pre-Hispanic religion.