Santo Domingo de Guzman Cultural Center

1575 The Dominics started to build the convent
1608 The Dominics established in the convent
1731 The construction was finished with the Rosario Chapel
1812 The convent was occupied by the Army force
1859 The Dominics were ex cloistered from the convent
1898 The Rosario Chapel was reopened to the religious cult and restoration began
1902 The Cavalry headquarters are built
1972 The Regional Museum of Oaxaca is opened
1994 The Army gives back the whole building
1998 The Santo Domingo de Guzman Cultural Center is opened

The great cosmogony of the ethnic groups which conform the pluricultural mosaic of this region is compiled at the Santo Domingo de Guzman Cultural Center only as a sample of the millenarian history that help us to understand the complex vision of life of the inhabitants of Oaxaca state. It is a journey through time and displays the great richness of organization, religion, domain, agriculture, gastronomy, architecture, jewels, and heritage legacy before and after the Spanish colonization in the land of the "Guajes", today Oaxaca City.

Hall I.- Millenarian Cultures

At this hall the visitor can admire the great ethnic heritage of the groups that inhabit the state of Oaxaca. There are carved stones such as grinds to elaborate food and spear heads used in hunting. Figures of ceramic which date back 3500 years such as pots, human figures, bottles, ceremonial cups from the Isthmus ofTehuantepec, the Central valleys, and the Mixteca Alta. There is a big pot called "Apaxtle" with silhouettes Cloisonne decorated (painting over clay coat ceramic), small bottles, pots, and cups. Ceremonial ceramic for the cult to the death. There is an anthropomorphous brazier, and ceramic boxes from Monte Alban which display symbols of water. A stone with a dancer in relief. There are also gods with animals and an amazing sculpture of a writer called "El Escriba de Cuilapan".

Hall II.- Times of Flourishing

This hall display mostly figures of Monte Alban which date from 200 to 900 A. D.
There are human shaped funeral urns, reliefs in stones, clay tableware for rituals, funeral urns with human patterns and sculptures of the death.

Hall III.-Treasures of the Tomb 7 of Monte Alban

At his hall there are human bones used in decoration of the body. The bones are carved and display snakes, feather plumes, gods, eagles, rabbits, humans, jaguars, and snakes heads. There is a unique in its genre human skull which is a container used in religion and witchcraft and carefully decorated with turquoise. Another amazing relic is a collar made with human teeth. The human bones were used mostly as a decoration in rituals and special ceremonies. There are collars and earrings made with black pearls which were called "Epyolohtli" which means the heart of the shell.

One of the most astonishing item at this hall is a crystal of rock cup which was used for drinking only in important ceremonies. The crystal of rock is a transparent material like the glass but, it is very hard and has an hypnotic bright which makes it very valuable. It was a high estimated piece among thepre-Hispanic cultures of Mesoamerica because of its beauty and hardness.

Of course, there are many items made of gold such as bracelets, earrings, and pectorals. The Mixtecs were great goldsmiths and elaborated huge golden pectorals which cover almost the whole chest and which display gods. There are collars of turquoise beads and shells. The jade was also worked as collars, earrings, rings, and ear flaps.

Hall IV.- The Lordships "Los Señorios"

The most prominent items displayed at this hall are jars with geometric and animal forms from Zaachila and Coixtlahuaca which date from 900 to 1521 A. D. There are Mexica tools used to work several materials. Ceramic used funeral ceremonies from Yagul and Zaachila and pots with representations in codex style from the Mixteca which date from 900 to 1521 A. C.

Hall V.- Contact and Conquest

At this hall, there is a painting of the talented and diplomatic Hernan Cortes who was the captain who led the conquest. He was given the honor name of Marques del Valle of Oaxaca in 1529.

The gold that attracted the Spanish was mostly extracted in rivers. Many indigenous people were slaved in order to exploit the rich deposits.
The Spanish technology was an important tool in the conquest, specially the steel; there are spear heads, armors and helmets from the XVI and XVIII centuries.
The tribute claimed by the Spaniards after the conquest was mainly paid in gold, cocoa, textiles, feathers, and "Cochinilla", a bug of the Nopal plant which is used to color textiles because of its deep red ink.

Hall VI.- The New Faith

At this hall the visitor can admire wood carved sculptures of saints from different centuries; San Francisco from the XVIII century. The Eternal father sculpture from the XVIII century. Santo Domingo de Guzman, XVIII century, the Order of the Dominics was the most important during the evangelizing of the south of Mexico since the XVI century. There is a San Jose sculpture who represents the role of Educator of Christ. San NicolasTolentino , XVIII century, from the Order of San Agustin. San Pedro sculpture, XVIII century. There is also a mural painting of San Jose the Baptist. This mural was painted on a wall and, the whole piece of the wall was rescued from the convent of SantaMaría Xalapa del Marques, in the Istmo de tehuantepec . The rescue is a curious deed because, where the convent and the former town were established, the Mexican government built a dam and the valley was sunk.

There is also a sculpture of Christ from the XVIII century.
The Latin alphabet was taught only to the sons of noble Indians, there are pieces of paper about concerning these writings.
Horses were brought to America in the XVI century, and there are spurs and stirrups from the XVII and XVIII centuries.
An amazing linen from Huilotepec from the XVIII century is also displayed at this hall. This is a pictographic document related to the conquest of the Istmo de Tehuantepec in the mid XV century.

Hall VII.-The Indigenous Response

The permanent contact between the "Two worlds" made possible an interchange of materials and technology. The introduction of this technology allowed Americans to master in the elaboration of new products.The European technology provided a larger production of textiles. At this hall there is a wooden loom in which several rich textiles were produced. There is a figure ofVirgen del rosario dressed in silk and pearls. There is also clothing of priests made of silk, ceramic of Talavera of the queen. The leather was also worked in saddles, trunks, bags for wine and vinegar.

Hall VIII.- Matter and Spirit

There are different items such as a loom introduced by Dominics in the XVI century, an oil painting of the Last Supper but, decorated with vegetables on the table. There are three bells on display; the bells become the marker of daily activities due to churches and religious celebrations. There is an organ of wind of the VIII.century, sculptures of saints carved in wood, "Retablos" from the XVIII century, and an oil painting of the XVIII century of the Virgen de la Merced on an arquit.

Travel Guide Exploring Oaxaca

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