Archaeological Treasures Come to Phoenix

Phoenix Art Museum explores life of the first and largest metropolis on the American continent

Phoenix Art Museum presents “Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire,” a major traveling exhibition organized by the de Young Museum in San Francisco in collaboration with the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico.

Standing figure, 200–250. Greenstone.
Zona de Monumentos Arqueológicos
de Teotihuacán.

With more than 200 outstanding objects from the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City on view for the first time in Arizona, the show provides a comprehensive insight into the art, everyday life and religion of Teotihuacan as well as its influence on other regions of Mexico.

Teotihuacan was the first, largest and most influential metropolis on the American continent. In its heyday between 100 BCE and 650 CE, the city encompassed an area of 20 square kilometers with a population of more than 150,000.

Both the inhabitants of Teotihuacan, its original name, and why the city was abandoned around 650 CE are still unknown.

When the Aztecs, coming from the north in the first half of the 14th century, discovered its abandoned ruins on the Mexican Central Plateau, they named it Teotihuacan, the place where gods were born, and used it as the setting for their own creation myth.

Circular relief, 300–450. Stone.

“Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire” explores the archaeological history of the city through sculptures, friezes and murals; domestic objects including vessels and figures, stone carvings, masks, statues of gods and representations of animals; and extraordinary objects crafted out of precious materials including jade, obsidian, greenstone and onyx.

Over the course of the exhibition, Phoenix Art Museum will partner with Arizona State University and its archaeology faculty to create programs to enhance visitors’ experience of these World Heritage archaeological treasures.

“Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire” is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in collaboration with the Secretaría de Cultura through the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México.

This exhibition has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire

Oct. 6, 2018 – Jan. 27, 2019

Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

For more information/tickets, visit


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