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Fuente Mito del Agua, Chapultepec

 Photos: Pro Bosque de Chapultepec ©2024

The Fuente Mito del Agua (Fountain of the Myth of Water) is one of the least understood and appreciated of the many fountains in Chapultepec Park. At 295 meters long, it’s often mistaken for the ornate façade of a building. It could be the another part of Mexico City’s water system like the Cárcamo Museum, just across the way.

In fact, the 1964 fountain is a series of ten sub-fountains, or pools, connected by a stream of running water. The design was by engineer, Emilio Lavín Revilla. He was working under the direction of Leónides Guadarrama who had designed the master plan for the Second Section of Chapultepec in the preceding years. Guardarrama also designed most of the original Museum of Natural History and the Guardianes del Futuro fountain on the other side of Chapultepec Section 2.

Guardarrama commissioned the sculptor Alberto Pérez Soria for the ten mammoth sculptural heads that occupy the spaces between the pools. These were based on 1942 diagrams made by the artist Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957) who had illustrated the genealogy of a water god of the renowned Olmec culture.

Pérez Soria also included the Priest of Atlihuayán among the sculptural heads. That work, discovered only in 1948, unleashed heated debates about its iconography and meaning. All of the sculptures needed to be reinterpreted as their actual sizes were not a part of Covarrubias’ diagrams. The originals were actually figurines rather than the giant monoliths. The sculptures are each between 2.90 and 3.20 meters tall.

Pérez Soria also placed concrete vases, ten in all, between each head. Vertical jets of water emerge from the vases which are modern reinterpretations of one found in Tlatilco between the 7th and 12th century B.C.E.  The fountain also includes nine sculptures of fish and some 50 painted glyphs along the rear wall.

It remains an important testament to its time when an interest in the ancient past peaked and was used to shore up support for a government still stabilizing in the wake of the Revolution concluded some 45 years before. It’s likely one of the best examples of the Neo-Indigenist design begun at the height of Porfiriato. One can see here a direct correlation with the 1889 Mexican Pavilion in Paris, the bronze plaques of which today adorn the Garden of the Triple Alliance.

The northeastern end of the fountain borders on the grounds of the Papalote Children’s Museum. Restored in 2016, today the fountain provides a fantastic backdrop to the broader gardens of this corner of Chapultepec.

How to get here
  • Av. de los Compositores, Bosque de Chapultepec II Secc, Alc. Miguel Hidalgo, 11100 CDMX

Nearby

Papalote Children’s Museum

Nearest at 0.17 kms.

Cárcamo Museum

Nearest at 0.30 kms.

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