General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 21 Sep 2017/10 Eagle
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Stone cactus fragment

Aztec/Mexica stone cactus fragment

Base of sculptural fragment of a cactus, Aztec/Mexica, basalt, height 37 cms., Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City.

Some scholars believe that realistic sculptures of cacti, like this one, would have been used to mark geographical boundaries in Tenochtitlan - such as the northern edges of the island, bordering the twin city of Tlatelolco.
Many archaeological monuments bear carvings in hidden areas, including their bases. These could be written messages for Tlaltecuhtli (‘Lord of the Earth’) or for the earth itself (Coatlicue).


Adapted from ‘Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler’, British Museum Catalogue, 2009, p. 47.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore