General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 19 Apr 2021/3 Alligator
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Head of an Eagle Warrior

Stone figure of Aztec warrior wearing an eagle helmet

Head of an Eagle Warrior, Mexica, andesite, height 38 cms., National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

The order of the eagle warriors, along with the jaguar warriors, formed the élite group that led the Mexica armies on their expeditions of conquest. They are recognised, as in this famous piece, by their helmets in the form of an eagle’s head and clothing adorned with wings and claws.
The eagle had been linked with warfare since the earlier civilisation of Teotihuacan, as can be seen from surviving murals. The Mexica, however, considered the eagle as the
nahual or the supreme incarnation of the sun...
This sculpture displays a bold carving technique that conveys the unyielding nature of the Mexica soldier, whose nobility is indicated by the large knot at the nape of his neck. The warrior is distinguished by his eagle’s beak helmet and scowling mouth, further emphasizing his ferocity.

Adapted from ‘Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler’, British Museum Catalogue, 2009, p. 202.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore

Learn more about the eagle...