By Teruaki Horita, Marubeni Mexico Corp.
Mexico in ancient times saw the emergence of numerous advanced civilizations with their own unique religious beliefs and highly developed understanding of astronomy. Among these, the Teotihuacan civilization with its Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon was an overwhelming presence. The Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon are located in what was formerly the great religious city of Teotihuacan, on the outskirts of Mexico City. According to ancient Aztec mythology, two gods were chosen to become the sun and the moon in the world of darkness and underwent training at these pyramids before, at the sacrifice of other gods, ultimately becoming the sun and the moon.
In Mexico City itself it is possible to see too how the later arrival of the conquering Spanish, and the Christianity and culture that they brought with them has, over the course of many centuries, become mixed and matured into the local folk customs and native manners. One example of this is the medieval town of Guanajuato in the central highlands of Mexico. It is a city that was built upon the world's largest silver mining industry and its labyrinth of underground streets which utilize the old silver mine shafts and underground water ways are like a maze, and bring a taste of the city's medieval past into the present, virtually unchanged.
This sense of a kind of continuously inherited past finds some sort of crystallization in the work of the modern architect Luis Barragan. Said to be a genius in use of space and color, his work is to be found in various forms in Mexico City, not least the giant monument "Satelite Tower" that stands along side the main expressway on the outskirts of Mexico City, as well as in park fountains, housing developments, private houses and his own house and studio. Barragan thought that the dignity of nature exists eternally in a beautiful garden, and that the entire universe is to be found within a garden. In his awe and veneration for the power of nature and his gratitude for the plenty that nature brings, Barragan's work and thought contains much that is easy for Japanese people to identify with, since we similarly enjoy our Japanese style landscape gardens with their Buddhist sense of space and time.
With these historical sites that have borne the rise and fall of civilizations, this city marked by the history of medieval times and the modern times alike, and through this architecture and philosophy that can reach down to the next generation, all of which are registered as World Heritage sites, it seems likely that the next generation of Mexicans, will like the people of today, feel great pride in the history and culture of their forebears. By all means, if you get the chance, take time to discover Mexican culture, rich with its links to both the past and the future.
Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.34 (July 2006)