The Tello Obelisk Monument from Chavin de Huantar
The Tello Obelisk is an Early Horizon monument in Chavin de Huantar filled with cultigen depictions featuring a pair of individual pairs flying in the shaman position while grasping particular sections of a rope with an artistic exhibition of early Andean iconography. The monument, a prismatic granite monolith, hails from the North Central part of Peru, an archaeological site known as Chavin de Huantar, featuring one of the most complex and unique stone carvings of American in its time-period. Chavin is located between the Cordillera Negra and Cordillera Blanca, on a pass to the high elevation valley that ...view middle of the document...
James argues that prior to Inca, 2500 years prior, the monumental temple hosting the Tello Obelisk was “erected with great skill that entailed decorating the buildings with mysterious sculptures and shaped, hard stones” (Salomon and Schwartz 447).
To construct the obelisk, mountain torrents were diverted, canals were constructed, merging two separate streams. The massive and outstanding obelisk stone building attracted travellers and scholars’ attention in the mid 16th century. Chroniclers of the time wrote that the obelisk featured imposed fortress with strange, gigantic sculptures, and faces on its stone walls. As the 20th century approached, Julio C. Tello , a Peruvian archaeologist came up with a thesis that Chavin was the mother of Andean culture due to Chavin’s complex and unique sculptures. The discovery of the Tello Obelisk strengthened his thesis after it was exhibited in Lima with Raimond Stella, another key sculpture from Chavin. He argued that the Obelisk was religious and cultural in nature, presenting evidence that its carvings were closely related to form, iconographic content, as well as a contextual orientation and placement. The obelisk featured an animal form that was depicted with elaborate kennings, which were meant to represent deities and mythological beings (Weistenmantel 72-75).
Chavin art was exhibited in the construction of the obelisk ina manner that suggested that the animal forms either represented a deity or a mythological being or rather a cayman. The cayman was build to exhibit the cayman with elaborate kennings accompanied by various stone art subsidiary figures. The four sides of the Tello Obelisk were curved to form a rectangular shaft, and Weistenmantel (68) asserts that the obelisk might have been “an object of a cult religion rather than being a the simple piece of artistic and architectural decoration” that people thought it to be. The caymans on the obelisk were sculptured with symbols of fish tails. The Tello Obelisk soot out for its evidential exhibition of the outstanding Chavin lithic art employed in the monument because of its breath-taking appearance, complex system of artistic and sculptural decoration, series of various terraces and squares as well as the elements of extraordinary beauty brought about by the anthromorphic, zoomographic iconographic artistic decoration (Rowe 47).
Correlation of the Obelisk with the Old Temple is figuratively supported by Julio Tello’s stylistic comparison of the monument with the Lanzon, which was another key monolithic art at Chavin. The Lanzon, however, is still embedded in the compound of the Old Temple in Chavin as it secures its temporal placement. Rowe’s characterization of the monument at Chavin entails a representational and conventional meaning that results from its multiple conventions that make it difficult to decipher (James 8). The conventions include repetition, the artistic employment of standardized measures, symmetry, and metaphoric or...