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Cactus boundary marker

Aztec stone cactus boundary marker

Stone cactus boundary marker, Aztec/Mexica, basalt, height 97 cms., Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City.

As one of the most characteristic plants of the Mexican landscape, the large vertical cactus has been used to mark out boundaries and streets since pre-Hispanic times. This naturalistic sculpture of a cactus was discovered in the 19th century between the two ancient cities of Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco. Even today there is a nearby alleyway called Calle del Órgano (organ), probably in reference to the plant’s function as a boundary marker between the two territories. The cactus is depicted complete with its roots. This naturalism is typical of Mexica sculptures...

Adapted from ‘Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler’, British Museum Catalogue, 2009, p. 46.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore

Read more about Mexica stone cactus sculptures