Mesoamerican Culture, History, and Religion

Tigre Rope Fighting In Zitlala

Following up on last week’s post discussing the survival of Precolumbian gladiatorial combat in honor of Tlaloc in Mexico, I’ve got a video today that actually shows part of a Tigre whip match at Zitlala.  Now that this activity has come to my attention, it’s something I’ll be watching for videos of in addition to Danza Azteca.  It’s interesting getting to actually see the story behind the jaguar mask and contemplate the deeper meaning behind the fighting.

Courtesy link to ArchaeologyTV’s page on YouTube for this Tigre combat video.

In case you’re wondering, the special rope club used by Tigre fighters in Zitlala are called cuertas.  The modern cuerta itself is actually a “friendlier” version of heavier rawhide and stone clubs used previously, which in turn were descended from stone and shell clubs used when the battles may well have been lethal.  For obvious reasons, the present-day trend has been away from fatal contests, though the underlying meaning of giving of oneself to Tlaloc for a plentiful harvest endures today among those who remember.

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2 responses

  1. Shock

    I really want a set of conch shell knuckle dusters. I’ve wanted them every since I saw Kerr’s pic of that Maya vase. Actually- lets be honest- I want a set and then I want to get into a bar fight so I can use them. I like them for other reasons, too. They make the dreams of having the crap pounded out of me with brass knuckles make ever so much more sense.

    Oh, and would you keep an eye out for me for something? It’s the Danza Lluvia a.k.a. the El Tlaloc. Why I wanna hear it is self explanatory. The original is supposed to be more syncopated than the way it’s played now, and I believe I’ve heard it before at a danzante performance, but I need more examples, damnit! I’m very curious about the role of the teponaztli in this piece because of the mini teponaztlis found in Tlaloc caches.

    January 12, 2009 at 3:37 AM

  2. cehualli

    Hehehe I can’t say I’m surprised. Your dreams make me wonder how readily “Fight Clubs” for the Teteo would form with a large enough community.

    Sure, I’ll watch for this one. I haven’t come across it yet, but I’ll keep trawling teh Intarwebs and elsewhere. Wonder if Harvard has any recordings of these things? Hmm.

    If you ever find a recording of Huitzilopochtli’s dance, do let me know!

    January 15, 2009 at 3:13 AM

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