Veracruz Standing Priest Whistle
lassic Veracruz culture (or Gulf Coast Classic culture) refers to a cultural area in the north and central areas of the present-day Mexican state of Veracruz, a culture that existed from roughly 100 to 1000 CE, or during the Classic era.
El Tajin was the major center of Classic Veracruz culture; other notable settlements include Higueras, Zapotal, Cerro de las Mesas, Nopiloa, and Remojadas, the latter two important ceramics centers. The culture spanned the Gulf Coast between the Pánuco River on the north and the Papaloapan River on the south.
The art of Classic Veracruz is rendered with extensive and convoluted banded scrolls that can be seen both on monumental architecture and on portable art, including ceramics and even carved bones. At least one researcher has suggested that the heads and other features formed by the scrolls are a Classic Veracruz form of pictographic writing. This scrollwork may have grown out of similar styles found in Chiapa de Corzo and Kaminaljuyu.
In addition to the scrollwork, the architecture is known for its remarkable ornamentation, such as that seen on the Pyramid of Niches at El Tajin. This ornamentation produces dramatic contrasts of light and shadow, what art historian George Kubler called a “bold chiaroscuro”.
While Classic Veracruz culture shows influences from Teotihuacan and the Maya, neither of these cultures are its direct antecedents. Instead, the seeds of this culture seems to have come at least in part from the Epi-Olmec culturecenters, such as Cerro de las Mesas and La Mojarra.