With all my Dia de los Muertos events and open studios happening in
October, it was difficult to find the time to post anything new in my
Etsy Store. Well the whirlwind has eased up a bit and I've finally had
some computer time to post new work.
The new work is of two upcycled wooden trays. Both have images of the
Aztec star crossed lovers Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. There are many
interpretations of this legend but I decided to post the one listed from
Mexico Online: http://www.mexonline.com/history-popo.htm
The Legend of Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl
On a clear day, the towering white peaks of the legendary Popocatépetl
and Iztaccíhuatl volcanoes can be seen from the great metropolis of
Mexico City. Rising beyond 17,000 feet in elevation, these two majestic
mountains offer the viewer a breathtaking sight. Snowcapped year round,
the well-known landmarks have captured people’s imaginations throughout
the ages. Located just 45 miles southeast of the nation’s capital, Popo
and Izta, as many affectionately call these two volcanoes, share a story
that reaches back into the mists of time.
Geographically, these two glacier-iced volcanoes represent the second
and third highest mountains in Mexico. The name Iztaccíhuatl in the
indigenous Nahuatl language means “White Woman” and the mountain
actually includes four peaks, the tallest of which reaches 17,158 feet.
Many see her silhouette as resembling that of a sleeping woman,
complete with head, chest, knees and feet. Iztaccíhuatl is an extinct
volcano and is a popular destination for adventurous mountaineers and
||The sleeping woman - Artist Jesus Helguera
Popocatépetl is the taller of the two mountains, reaching an incredible 17,802 feet in height. Popocatépetl and
Iztaccíhuatl are connected by a high mountain pass known as the Paso de
Cortés. Popocatépetl is still active with the volcano having spewed
smoke and ash as recently as 2001. In the Náhuatl language Popocatépetl
means “Smoking Mountain” and as we shall soon see, was aptly named.
In Aztec mythology, the volcanoes were once humans who were deeply in
love. This legend features two star-crossed lovers, the young brave
warrior Popocatépetl and the beautiful princess Iztaccíhuatl. The father
of Iztaccíhuatl, a mighty ruler, placed a demanding condition upon
Popocatépetl before he could take Iztaccíhuatl as his bride. His mandate
required that Popocatépetl first engage in battle against the tribe’s
enemy and return victorious. Variations of the legend include the added
stipulation that Popocatépetl needed to return with the vanquished
enemy’s head as proof of his success.
||Iztaccíhuatl and prince Popocatépetl - Artist Jesus Helguera
The story continues with Popocatépetl setting off for battle with Iztaccíhuatl waiting for her beloved’s return.
Treacherously, a rival of Popocatépetl’s sends a false message back to
the ruler that the warrior has been slain when in fact, Popocatépetl has
won the battle and is ready to return to his Iztaccíhuatl. However, the
princess upon hearing the false news, falls ill and succumbs to her
deep sorrow, dying of a broken heart. When Popocatépetl returns
triumphant to his people only to encounter his beloved’s death, his
heartbreak is inconsolable.
He carries Iztaccíhuatl's body to the mountains whereupon he has a
funeral pyre built for both himself and his princess. Grief-stricken
beyond measure, Popocatépetl dies next to his beloved. The Gods, touched
by the lover’s plight, turn the humans into mountains, so that they may
finally be together. They remain so to this day with Popocatépetl
residing over his princess Iztaccíhuatl, while she lay asleep. On
occasion, Popo will spew ash, reminding those watching that he is always
in attendance, that he will never leave the side of his beloved Izta.