Monte Albán: Building J--page 4 (of fifteen pages)

after 200 BCE; rebuilt several times

See map.


Like Buildings G H and I, Building J is built on a rock platform that apparently was too difficult to level as much of the rest of the Grand Plaza had been. While symmetry is the dominant model on the Plaza, this building is off axis and consists of a strange form, a five-sided pyramidal base often compared to an arrowhead--pointing to the southwest. From the northeast it has the more usual form--steps with broad balustrades.
Scholars believe this building had an astronomical significance, aligned probably with the bright star Capella. Miller says it is "one of the first buildings in Mesoamerica that we can consider a giant chronological marker" (50).

Views from the southeast


Right: South face with reliefs. See next page.

Continue to page 5.

Works consulted or quoted:
Andrew Coe. Archaeological Mexico. Emeryville, CA: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2001.
Michael D. Coe and Rex Koontz. Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs. Fifth Edition. London: Thames & Hudson, 2002.
Nelly M. Robles Garcia. Monte Albán: History, Art, Monuments. Mexico: Monclem Ediciones, 2004. [official guide]
INAH. Signage at the site.
Mary Ellen Miller. The Art of Mesoamerica: From Olmec to Aztec. Third Edition. London: Thames and Hudson, 2001.

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© 2009 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.