Puuc Architecture: The Temple of the Magician at Uxmal

Puuc style architecture is predominant in the Puuc region of Mexico. The style came about in the Late Classic period but continued on and advanced during the Terminal Classic period. Puuc style has heavy influences of artistic appreciation with the prevalence of patterns and horizontal lines usually lining the upper portion of important buildings along with mask depicting their chosen God of worship. The construction of the buildings is often built atop of a raised platform and built with limestone, which was readily available in Mexico. After the initial construction the building was then covered in stucco and decorated in bright colors like red, turquoise, and gold coloration. Uxmal is considered the most important representation of Puuc architecture but it can also be found at sites like Ednza and Chichen Itza.

The Puuc architecture present at Uxmal is the most advanced and most prevalent than any other site in the Puuc region. The abundance of corbal arched doorways and distinct boot-shaped stones, which were designed specifically for supporting vaulting, can be found almost nowhere else besides Uxmal. The Temple of the Magician is especially significant to Uxmal's Puuc architecture. The base of the temple measures about 227 by 162 feet and is approximately 91 feet in height. The temple contains three levels that have two distinct profiles. This leads archeologist and scholars to believe that the temple had separate phases in building beginning in the 6th century and finally ending in the 10th century. The Temple of the Magician is also known for its distinctive rounded corners which, when seen from above, give the temple an oval shape. This oval shape isn’t seen throughout the Maya region and is specific to Uxmal. Climbing the west side of the temple sits a steep staircase that is decorated with carved mask which leads to the main doorway where a carved serpent’s mouth can be found. The Temple of the Magician is one-of-a-kind in the Maya world with techniques that can only be found at Uxmal

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