General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 19 Apr 2021/3 Alligator
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Deified warrior

Aztec deified warrior stone figure

Aztec deified warrior, c. 1500, stone, height 119 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).

One of 4 male and 1 female stone figures depicting the warriors who support the gods’ creation by their military actions, originally in the ceremonial precinct of the Templo Mayor, and discovered in 1944. These warrior figures may have formed part of a sacred building in Tenochtitlan representing the Aztec vision of the cosmos. Whilst the other four figures marked the four cardinal directions, this bearded figure indicated the centre of the universe, the ‘crossroads’ of the four directions. They all wear large stylised butterfly pectorals of Toltec origin, a pattern repeated on their helmets.

Adapted from the RA exhibition catalogue ‘Aztecs’, p. 408.

Photo by Ana Laura Landa/Mexicolore