General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 18 Sep 2020/11 Rabbit
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Dr. Colin McEwan

Question for December 2011

What was the Aztecs’ most prized possession? Asked by Manor Fields Primary School. Chosen and answered by Dr. Colin McEwan.

Moctezuma II’s turquoise diadem and name glyph. Codex Mendoza folio 16 (detail)
Moctezuma II’s turquoise diadem and name glyph. Codex Mendoza folio 16 (detail) (Click on image to enlarge)

This brilliant green-blue mineral was extracted from the depths of the earth in distant lands far to the north of the Basin of Mexico. When traders brought the first pieces to the lords of the Aztec Royal Court in Tenochtitlan they marvelled at this new treasure which came to signify the fertility of the earth giving birth to life-giving springs of water and bountiful green vegetation. Turquoise became revered as a powerful substance and a turquoise diadem was worn by Aztec rulers to show their power representing the health and well-being of their people.

This is just one of the many many answers to this question that we put to our Panel of Experts in a survey in December 2011. You can read the full results by following the link below...

Picture source:-
Image from the Codex Mendoza (original in the Bodleian Library, Oxford) scanned from our own copy of the James Cooper Clark 1938 facsimile edition, London.

The full results of our survey

Dr. Colin McEwan has answered just this one question

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