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Drawing From the Past
Maya Antiquity Through the Eyes of Frederick Catherwood

Plate 24, Temple, at Tuloom

Plate 24, Temple, at Tuloom

Plate 24, Temple, at Tuloom
(on stone, by W. Parrott)

Tulum is located on the seacoast near Cancún. This scene depicts the labor required to uncover each monument chronicled in the expedition of Stephens and Catherwood. This lithograph includes the only known portrait of Catherwood, shown to the right measuring the temple. The viewer's eye is drawn to Catherwood and an assistant, despite the fact that the indigenous laborers are in the foreground clearing the ruin.

Catherwood notes that Tulum was especially challenging to uncover because it was “so blocked up with trees, that it was by mere accident that this building and several others were discovered.” Although it was the indigenous laborers who did most of the intense clearing, in his Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatán Stephens himself states that “I pushed the Indians away and cleared out the loose earth with my hands.” This quote demonstrates Stephens’ feeling of possessiveness and his desire to be credited as the true discoverer of the monument. [Spanish version].

MEGAN BURBANK and CLAIRE WILSON

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