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Eagle vessel fragment with date 2 Reed

Fragment of an Aztec eagle vessel with the date 2 Reed

Fragment of an Aztec eagle vessel with the date 2 Reed, Mexica, stone, 30.5 cms x 10.8 cms., British Museum

This fragment comes from the base of a stone cuauhxicalli or ‘eagle vessel’. Only half of the solid base is intact and it bears the glyph Reed accompanied by a numeral. Despite the fragmentary state of this object there is no doubt that the original date carved was 2 Reed. Knotted ropes are common in Mexica iconography, but the inclusion of a knotted rope tied round the Reed glyph is only ever associated with the date 2 Reed, which marked celebration of the New Fire ceremony in 1507, presided over by Moctezuma II....
Eagle vessels, or cuauhxicalli were used to hold the hearts of sacrificial victims before they were burned and offered to the gods. As part of the ceremony, the new fire was lit in the heart of the sacrificed victim. It is therefore possible that this cuauhxicalli was used during that ceremony in 1507, and it may even have contained the heart of the last victim to bring light to the Mexica world.

From ‘Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler’, British Museum Catalogue, 2009, p. 175

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore.