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Altar with the date 10 Rabbit

Aztec stone altar with the date 10 Rabbit

Mexica (Aztec) stone altar with the date 10-Rabbit, height 59 cms., National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

This stone altar was unearthed in Mexico City during excavations for the Metro line... It celebrates sacrificial offerings made to the gods, particularly human hearts... The calendar date 10 Rabbit on a panel above the head of the main figure indicates that it was made in 1502... one of a group of monuments marking the beginning of Moctezuma’s reign...
The largest relief portrays a man sitting in ‘oriental’ fashion, with one foot placed on top of the other, toes downwards, on the hanging bands of his maxtlatl (loincloth). The figure is extravagantly dressed and adorned with a feather headdress emphasizing his status as an elite warrior destined to be sacrificed to the Mexica tribal god. He is wearing an anahuatl - a symbol for the earth contained by the ancestral waters - on the back of his head, linking him with Huitzilopochtli. In his right hand he holds a sharpened femur with which he indicates the position of his heart, the site of the supreme sacrifice...


From ‘Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler’ Eds. Colin McEwan and Leonardo López Luján, British Museum Press, 2009, p. 144.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore