Children of the Plumed Serpent

The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico

Virginia M. Fields (ed.), John Pohl, Victoria Lyall

    ISBN: 978 1 85759 741 7

    Size: 292 x 248 mm / 9.8 x 11.5 in.

    Binding: Hardback

    Pages: 256

    In association with:

    Date published: March, 2012

    UK £45 /US $65


  • Accompanies a major exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 1 April to 1 July, 2012 and the Dallas Museum of Art from 29 July to 25 November, 2012
  • Offers new scholarship on Quetzalcoatl, the leader of the Mayan civilisation whose calendar has predicted apocalyptic changes in the world’s life cycle in the year 2012
  • Features stunning new photography of art in gold, turquoise, shell, ceramic, textiles, and stone from collections around the world


Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico accompanies an unprecedented exhibition, the first systematic investigation of the social and cultural complexities of the late pre-Columbian and early colonial eras as expressed in art. Reflecting their belief that Quetzalcoatl, the human incarnation of the Plumed Serpent, had founded the royal lineages of their noble families as he made his epic journey across Mexico, his people called themselves the Children of the Plumed Serpent. For his followers, the narrative of the culture hero Quetzalcoatl informed every aspect of artistic production. Among the book’s 240 illustrations are stunning images of codices, polychrome ceramics, textiles, and exquisite works in gold, turquoise, and shell. Its lively and authoritative text features exciting new research and in-depth analysis by more than fifteen leading scholars, archaeologists, and curators. Offering a nuanced picture of Mexican history and art, this groundbreaking volume illuminates the enduring power of Quetzalcoatl as icon and idea from ancient times to today.

Author information

Virginia M. Fields (1952-2011) was senior curator and co-department head of Latin American art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. John M. D. Pohl is director of the Center for the Study of Indigenous Communication Systems and teaches in the departments of art history at UCLA and USC. Victoria I. Lyall is associate curator of Latin American art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.