General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 29 Oct 2020/13 Water
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Is ANY of the treasure given to Cortés accounted for today?

ORIGINAL QUESTION received from - and thanks to - Jeremy Lipps: Love your site. Very informative. I’m curious about the treasures presented to Cortés at San Juan de Ulua when they first met there. Most of the sources describe a gold sun disc and a silver moon plate or mirror. As well as varying other treasures. Does any of that treasure still exist? Is ANY of the treasure given or seized by Cortes accounted for today? (Answer compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

‘South side of Vera Cruz, from the Castle of San Juan de Ulua’ - illustration ‘drawn on the spot’ by W. Bullock, June 7th. 1823
‘South side of Vera Cruz, from the Castle of San Juan de Ulua’ - illustration ‘drawn on the spot’ by W. Bullock, June 7th. 1823 (Click on image to enlarge)

It seems the answer is pretty much in the negative. We put your question to Panel of Experts member Dr. Davide Domenici. This is what he replied:-
’The gold and silver discs were melted down - they disappeared like most of the objects sent to Spain by Cortés and other conquistadors. Only a few specimens from those shipments were preserved in Hapsburg domains outside Spain, in places such as Vienna and Stuttgart where they can be admired today. As far as is currently known, no single object from the conquistadors’ shipments exists today in Spain. Most of the Mesoamerican artifacts which were preserved in ancient European collections and which can be seen today (British Museum, London; Museo delle Civiltà, Rome, etc.) derived from missionary gifts, mostly brought to Italy during the 16th century.’

Picture scanned from Six Months in Mexico. vol. 1 by W. Bullock (2nd. ed.), John Murray, London, 1825.

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