General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 19 Apr 2021/3 Alligator
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Aztec grasshopper sculpture

Grasshopper, Mexica, c. 1500, cornelian, length 47 cms., National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

The Aztecs migrated from Aztlan to the Basin of Mexico and settled on the hill called Chapultepec. Pictograms show this with a grasshopper on its summit and it is therefore known as ‘grasshopper hill’. A sweet-water spring on the mountain was later channelled to provide Tenochtitlan with drinking water. In Chapultepec the Aztecs built a system of reservoirs and canals. A sculpture of a grasshopper was discovered in the main reservoir towards the end of the 19th century. Grasshoppers are abundant in the fields in Mesoamerica after the rainy season.
The present piece was carved in a red volcanic rock called cornelian. The creature is depicted in all its anatomical detail and its legs are flexed as if it is ready to jump.

From ‘Aztecs’ (Royal Academy of Arts exhibition catalogue, London, 2002), p.418.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore

Learn more about the grasshopper...