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Reproduction chalice cover

Reproduction Aztec/colonial chalice cover

Reproduction chalice cover, colonial (c.1540), feathers and bark, diameter 28 cms., National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

Both this reproduction and the original - the only example of native featherwork from the early colonial period in the Museum - are in the Museo Nacional de Antropología. The following is a description of the original:-
Featherworkers first cut templates from bark paper in the desired shapes and then used vegetable resins to glue the feathers to the templates, starting with the large disc, followed by the circular panel with its running-water designs and ending with the central motif. The running water symbolises holy water transmitting the word of God, who appears as a fantastic, Pre-Hispanic mask with fangs. The flame issuing from his mouth is the blood of Christ that washes away the sins of the world and is equated with the primeval water of the ancient gods.

Adapted from ‘Aztecs’ (Royal Academy of Arts exhibition catalogue, London, 2002), p.482.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore

See the original...