Photographs of Los Voladores de Papantla at HemisFair’68 added to the General Photograph Collection

The Top Shelf

Special Collections recently acquired photographs by San Antonio CPA and hobbyist photographer James F. Bartlett (1920-2004), gift of Gerron Hite. Bartlett made the photographic prints, dating from the 1960s and 1970s, in his darkroom. Subjects include the missions and other local tourist sites, North Star Mall, and HemisFair’68. Of special interest is a series of images of the performance of Los Voladores de Papantla at HemisFair’68.

Totonac men from Papantla, Veracruz, Mexico, performed the ancient Mesoamerican Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers) as part of the Frito-Lay / Pepsi-Cola entry at the fair. The ritual took place in an amphitheater with a 410-foot pole from which four of the participants, with ropes tied to themselves, descended headfirst to the ground in a ceremony created to appease the gods and bring rain. In addition to Los Voladores, there was a reenactment of an Aztec ritual human sacrifice by another…

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