The Aztecs

Hello Everyone! This past week in, what we all probably know by know is my favorite class, Art History, we have delved into The Aztecs. The Empire itself was thriving long before Europeans arrived, which was around the 16th century. The Empire itself was built by moving through Mexico conquering different lands to form a larger empire. The Aztecs eventually settled down in Tenochtitlan, which is now known as Mexico City. The sudden urge to build the empire there was because they saw a sign. This sign was an eagle nesting in a prickly cactus while eating a snake, which currently resides in the Center of Mexico’s flag.

The art of the Aztecs, before the influence of Europeans, consisted primarily of using the natural resources around them. Most sculptures were made of a rough stone which strengthens its connection even more so to natural surrounding world. The Aztecs lived their lives according to the Gods; There are roughly 200 deities or Gods that the Aztecs honored. Unfortunately, their Gods required human sacrifice and it was common for Aztec priests to pry open the chests of the victims and offer their beating heart to the Gods at the top of the temple.

At the bottom of the temple steps, you will find a stone carving of the Moon Goddess, Coylxauhqui. This is a relief type sculpture that depicts the nude dismembered body of the Moon Goddess. The carving is very important to the Aztecs because it was rebuilt upon the exact same way seven times during renovations to the the temple. The dismembered body of the Moon Goddess was meant to be a constant reminder of just how important human sacrifice is to the Gods. The carving of the body parts have scalloped edges which is meant to depict blood. Unfortunately the original paint has long faded away, but their would have been red paint to depict a pool of blood that the dismembered body was laying in.

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