The Aztecs excelled in sculptures make of stone and other material, ranging from small works of arts to huge buildings.

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Overview: Aztec Sculpture

As with many Mesoamerican cultures, the Aztecs excelled in rock sculptures the ranged from small works of arts to significant buildings. Aztec sculpture regularly took the type of striking piece of Aztec gods or mythical creatures, and also it was expressed through ceramics, architecture, freestanding three-dimensional stone works, and also relief work. The grand city of Tenochtitlan included some the the ideal examples that Aztec sculpture, native its temples and also pyramids come its elaborate rock palaces.


An Aztec Sculpture the the supernatural Serpent, Xiuhcoatl

Xiuhcoatl, a mythological serpent in Aztec religion, was a typical subject that Aztec art.

Aztec Motifs

Skull Art

A good deal the Aztec sculpture integrated the skull motif; this particular day this is known in Mexico as "skull art." In Aztec tradition, both death and life room worshiped together, and the skull—a symbol of death—was a promise of resurrection. The usage of skulls and also skeletons in Aztec art originated prior to the conquest, and the Aztecs often carved skulls right into their rock sculptures, monoliths of lava, and masks the obsidian and also jade.


Aztec Statue of Coatlicue, the planet Goddess

This sculpture is at this time held in the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City.

Carved Mirrors

A unique and versatile kind of sculpture was the sculpted mirror. Obsidian mirrors in pre-Columbian times to be fashioned from rock and offered a number of uses, from decorate to spiritual. Throughout the late Postclassic duration (c.1200–1521), these mirrors, symbolizing rulership and also power, were offered in rituals come spiritually accessibility the Aztec underworld and also communicate v the kingdom of the dead. Aztec mirrors to be originally organized in wooden frames and were decorated with perishable ornaments, such as feathers. Throughout the Spanish conquest, Hernán Cortés was well-known to have actually sent obsidian mirrors earlier to the royal court in Spain, where they became widely accumulated among the europe aristocracy.


Aztec Mirror

This mirror was carved from obsidian on a contemporary wooden base and is currently held in the Museum the the Americas, Madrid.

Calendar Stone

One the the most well known Aztec sculptures is the Calendar Stone. Also known together the Mexican sun Stone, stone of the Sun, or rock of the 5 Eras, it is a big monolithic sculpture the was excavated in the Zócalo, Mexico City"s key square, ~ above December 17, 1790. The stone is 11.75 feet in diameter and 3.22 feet thick, and it weighs about 24 tons; on its surface are elaborate carvings and also sculpted motifs that refer to main components that the Mexica cosmogony. While the precise purpose the the stone is unclear, archaeologists and also historians theorize the there can have been countless functions come the stone, indigenous spacial and time-related come political and also spiritual.


Calendar Stone

The monolith the the stone of the Sun, likewise known as the Aztec calendar rock (National Museum of Anthropology and also History, Mexico City).

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