General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 22 Nov 2017/7 Movement
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Solar disc

Aztec stone solar disc

Aztec solar disc, c. 1500, stone, height 11 cms., diameter 46 cms., National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City (this piece came to London as part of the major ‘Aztecs’ exhibition at the Royal Academy, 2002-3).

The solar disc was the emblem of the sun, known to the Aztecs as Tonatiuh, whom they imagined as a vigorous youth covered in red body paint and with ochre and yellow face paint. They believed that he was guided in his passage across the sky by Xiuhcoatl, the legendary fiery serpent that was also the deadly weapon that Tonatiuh used against his enemies in the underworld, the stars and the moon....

[This disc] is a simplified version of [the Sunstone]. The sun is represented here by four rays and by four sacred cactus thorns on the outside... In the centre is the calendrical number of the Fifth Sun (“4-Movement”). The date “6-Rabbit” appears in the border. It may refer to the year in which the stone was carved or to that of a historical event.

From the RA exhibition catalogue ‘Aztecs’, p. 414.

Photo by Ana Laura Landa/Mexicolore

Learn more about the Aztec Calendar