The Aztecs 


Aztec calendar, carved during the reign of Axayacatl , with the face of the Sun god Tonatiuh in the center, the 4 rectangles around the god are symbols of the 4 previous ages, the Aztecs believed they lived in the age of the last or 5th sun which would destroy humanity



 The Sun Stone (or The Calendar Stone), Aztec,  reign of Moctezuma II (1502-20), discovered in 1790 at the southeastern edge of the Plaza Mayor (Zocalo) in Mexico City, stone  (unfinished), 358 cm diameter x 98 cm depth (Museo Nacional de Antropología)



 Ancient Mexico: Toltecs to Aztecs - history and art

Statue of the mother of Huitzilopochtli, Coatlicue the Mother Goddess of the Earth

 Codices were  folding books made of deerskin or paper, most were burned by the Spanish and only 16 survuive.


 Aztec Art, Esther PasztoryThis is the first comprehensive book on Aztec art: eleven chapters illustrated with seventy-five superb color plates and hundreds of photographs, supplemented by maps and diagrams

 Aztec Perspective on First Contact with Europeans , 16th cent. Florentine Codex . Mountains on the sea that signaled the coming apocalypse. This was the news that terrified the Aztecs and most of all their leader Moctezuma II. Here we have their description of first contact with Europe, researched and written down by Bernardino de Sahagún and the Nahuatl people throughout the second half of the 16th century.

With the collapse of Tula in the 12th century, the primitive Chichimecs again poured into the Valley of Mexico from the north . One Chichimec group that migrated into the valley, according to legend from the coastal area of Aztatlan were the Mexica and were also known as the Aztecs .Azteca is the Nahuatl word for "people from Aztatlan." According to the legend, the southward migration began in 1064 .


a post conquest codex depicts the legend of the founding of Tenochtitlan

eagle knight  basalt 1300 - 1500 A.D.



Aztec  Gary Jennings

A story told in the words of one of the most robust and memorable characters in modern fiction. His name is Mixtil--Dark Cloud. Rising above his lowly station, Mixtil distinguishes himself as a scribe and later a warrior. He earns a fortune as a traveling merchant, exploring every part of what the Aztecs called The One World--the far lands of mountains, jungles, deserts, seacoasts


From the 13th century the Valley of Mexico was the nucleus of Aztec civilization .The capital of the Aztecs, the city of Tenochtitlan, was built upon raised islets in Lake Texcoco. The Triple Alliance formed its tributary empire expanding its political hegemony far beyond the Valley of Mexico, conquering other city states throughout Mesoamerica.


one of the few remaining examples of Aztec featherwork, Moctezuma's headdress

Aztec mask of death and rebirth


Aztec pottery


The most striking aspect of Aztec culture is the high demands for human sacrifice . In the Aztec world view, the sun and earth had been destroyed and recreated four times and they were in the age of the fifth sun, and destruction was imminent . Naturally, they wished to avoid this fate and believed that through intervention through the sun god, Huitzilopochtli this could be done, if he was appeased . The greatest act of reverence was to offer the sun god, the source of life in return. Without these sacrifices, it was feared the sun might stop rising or disappear an it does during an eclipse .The Aztec saw themselves as "the People of the Sun," whose divine duty is to wage cosmic war in order to provide the sun with his tlaxcaltiliztli ("nourishment"). Without it, the sun would disappear from the heavens. Thus the welfare and the very survival of the universe depends upon the offerings of blood and hearts to the sun, a notion that the Aztec extended to many of the deities of their pantheon.



Coyolxauhqui( Moon Godess ) disk , found in Mexico City in 1978


Zapotecs and Mixtec


Colonial Mexico


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