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Obsidian mirror

Aztec obsidian mirror, Madrid

Obsidian mirror, Mexica/Aztec, obsidian and wood, 50 cms x 40 cms, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales - CSIC, Madrid

Obsidian mirrors were a symbol of Aztec rule bestowed by the god Tezcatlipoca (‘Smoking Mirror’). Moctezuma is said to have seen a group of warriors riding deer by looking in a mirror - a reference to the Spanish conquerors*.

From Aztecs, eds. Doris Kurella, Martin Berger and Inés de Castro, with INAH, Mexico - catalogue for the exhibition Azteken, Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Hirmer Publishers, Germany, 2019, p. 309.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore.

‘See and Be Seen: (‘Smoking’) Mirrors’

* ‘Bad omens!’