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Gold objects from the Templo Mayor

Gold pieces found in Offerings at the Templo Mayor

Mexica (c.1486-1502) golden representations of pleated paper rosettes, approx. 6.5 cms diam., from Offering 123 and golden pectoral in the form of a sectioned shell, approx. 3 cms diam., from Offering 125, Templo Mayor Museum, Mexico City.

These are three of the unprecedented gold pieces found in the latest (2007-) phase of archaeological excavations at the Templo Mayor, following the demolition of two buildings in the historic centre damaged by the major earthquake of 1985. The first two, made with hammered, embossed and highly burnished gold sheets, representing paper rosettes, come from offering 123, found underneath the famous monolith of Tlaltecuhtli (discovered in 2006). Known as ixcuatechimalli (‘shield of the forehead’ in Náhuatl), they were worn on the heads of gods and priests. The third piece was discovered in offering 125, to the west of the monolith. Its form, a sectioned shell or ehecacozcatl, was an insignia associated with the personalized sacrificial knives depicting Quetzalcóatl (Venus at dawn), Xolotl (Venus at nightfall) and Pahtecatl (moon god of pulque).

Info from ‘Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler’, British Museum Catalogue, 2009, pp. 294-298.

Photos by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore.

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