In yesterday's post, I mentioned El Castillo at Chichén Itzá was a ziggurat-style pyramid. A ziggurat is a stepped, pyramid-type structure constructed of successively receding tiers, or levels, with a flat top. Ziggurats are believed to have first been erected in Mesopotamia and inspired by the biblical story of the Tower of Babel.
The Ziggurat of Ur, built by the Sumerians, is shown in this drawing from 1939 by Sir Leonard Woolley, a British archeologist.
The ziggurat motif became widely used during the Art Deco period; both right-side up and inverted. You can see a great example of it used both ways in the lobby of 450 Sutter Street in San Francisco.
Photos by Chanda Seymour Mattson
Here's a recent example of a stylized ziggurat used in a rug design by Kelly Wearstler for Patterson, Flynn and Martin.