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Giant shell sculpture

Giant Aztec (Mexica) stone marine shell sculpture

Giant Aztec marine shell stone sculpture, Mexica (1325-1521 CE), andesite, length 87 cms., Templo Mayor Museum, Mexico City.

Without doubt one of the masterpieces of Aztec art from the Templo Mayor at Tenochtitlan. Its powerful symbolic value alludes to water, fertility and life. According to Eduardo Matos Moctezuma ‘Whoever made this not only gave life to the form itself but also united volume and rhythm, (re)creating, through the gentle spreading of lines, the constant and eternal movement of symbolic life.’ The piece was discovered in the upper section of the Templo Mayor and has been associated with the civilizing deity Quetzalcóatl.

- Translated from Azteca Mexica: Las Culturas del México Antiguo by José Alcina Franch, Miguel León-Portilla and Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, Madrid 1992, p. 82.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore.

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