The Aztecs emerged in central Mexico round 1300 AD, coming to dominate the encircling space from their capital metropolis Tenochtitlan, now Mexico Metropolis. Stretching throughout highlands, coastal plains, valleys, and jungles, they had been the biggest and most profitable Mesoamerican empire when it comes to dimension and demographics. They had been additionally fierce, violent, highly effective, and ugly. Identified for his or her brutal battle ways and ritual sacrifices of struggle captives, slaves, and harmless civilians, the Aztecs had been obsessive about demise. They stored skulls as trophies, flayed individuals alive, ripped out their hearts, rolled heads down pyramid steps, cannibalized their victims, and worshipped demise gods. These artifacts give a terrifying perception into the world of the traditional Aztecs.
Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec God of the Useless, present in Teotihuacan ( Anagoria / CC by SA 3.0 ). The worship of Mictlantecuhtli typically concerned ritual cannibalism, with human flesh being consumed in and across the temple.
Statue of Xipe Totec, the flayed-skin god ( Bkwillwm / CC BY SA 3.0 ). Xipe Totec is represented carrying flayed human pores and skin, often with the pores and skin of the fingers falling free from the wrists. On the annual competition of Xipe Totec slaves or captives had been sacrificed and clergymen wore the flayed pores and skin of the victims with the contemporary blood nonetheless dripping.
An Aztec knife used for ugly ritual sacrifices, formed like a crouching eagle warrior (Trustees of the British Museum / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 )
The Emperor Loss of life Whistle depicting the Lord of the Useless, developed by Grasp flute maker Xavier Quijas . Aztec death whistles made piercing noises resembling a human scream, and are believed to have been used throughout ceremonies, sacrifices, or throughout battles to strike worry into their enemies.
A chac-mool on the Templo Mayor (Higher Temple) archaeological web site in Mexico Metropolis. The outlet within the stomach of the chac-mool was the place the hearts of sacrificed victims had been positioned. ( Miguel / Adobe Inventory)
Probably the most fearsome Aztec instrument of demise was the “ macauahuitl,” a club weapon favored by elite warriors. It was a picket bat surrounded by razor-sharp obsidian blades. It was so highly effective it might reportedly kill a horse with one strike. A contemporary recreation of a ceremonial macuahuitl made by Shai Azoulai. Photograph credit score: Niveque Storm ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )
Turquoise mosaic Aztec masks of Xiuhtecuhtli, God of Hearth. On the annual competition devoted to Xiuhtecuhtli, slaves and captives had been dressed because the deity and sacrificed in his honor ( Mistervlad / Adobe Inventory)
Aztec Stone Eagle, Cuauhxicalli, which has a round cavity in its again for receiving human hearts. Templo Mayor Museum at web site of Aztec Nice Temple, Mexico Metropolis. ( Public Domain )
Pendant within the type of an animal head. Made from wooden and lined with turquoise and malachite mosaic. The open mouth is encrusted with gems and lined with actual shark enamel (Trustees of the British Museum / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 )
Throughout excavations on the Home of Eagles on the northern finish of the Nice Temple of Tenochtitlan in Mexico Metropolis, archaeologists uncovered two life-size clay statues of Mictlantecuhtli. These terrifying figures depicted the god of demise and ruler of the underworld, proven together with his liver hanging out, his pores and skin ripped off, and claw-hands. Specialists believed that worship of Mictlantecuhtli was linked to ritual cannibalism. ( Gary Todd / CC BY SA 1.0 )
The mosaic cranium masks of Tezcatlipoca is believed to symbolize Tezcatlipoca, a.okay.a. “Smoking Mirror,” one of many 4 highly effective and influential creator gods of Aztec mythology. This Aztec artifact is definitely a human cranium lined with a mosaic of turquoise. Specialists consider it was a part of a ceremonial ritual costume and was worn with the assistance of deerskin straps. (Trustees of the British Museum / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 )
This thirteenth century golden serpent lip-piercing is a uncommon Aztec gold artifact. For the Aztecs, gold was related to the gods and was worn by their rulers. Often called labrets, these things had been symbolic of energy and the insertion of a labret via a piercing was a part of the Aztec accession ceremony. ( Public Domain )
An authentic rock-crystal cranium on show at The British Museum. Its origins are largely unsure however the stylization of the options of the cranium is normally accord Aztec of Mixtec carvings. (Trustees of the British Museum / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 )
A determine of a cihuateotl, the spirit of an Aztec lady who died in childbirth. ( CC0) In Aztec mythology, the Cihuateteo had been the malevolent spirits of ladies who died in childbirth. A cihuateotl was depicted as a fearsome determine with clenched, claw-like fists, macabre, bared enamel and gums and aggressive poses.
Serpent masks of Tlaloc, within the type of two intertwined and looped serpents in turquoise mosaic. (Trustees of the British Museum / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 )
The double-headed feathered serpent was made with over 2,000 tiny items of extremely prized turquoise. Presumably representing Quetzalcoatl, this Aztec artifact speaks to an period when the Aztecs had been getting ready to destruction. (The Trustees of the British Museum / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 )
Prime picture: An Aztec cranium of a sacrificed captive used as a masks, encrusted within the nostril and mouth with obsidian blades. ( Dante / Adobe Stock )
By Cecilia Bogaard