General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 28 Feb 2021/5 Monkey
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An Aztec man sees a night spectre, Florentine Codex

Superstitious? (6)

And another in our series on Mexica (Aztec) superstitions, taken from the Florentine Codex. This one relates to the dangers of night-time - ‘always a dangerous time, for demons walked in the hours of darkness.’ (Compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

‘Tezcatlipoca, god of the wizards, took many forms, appearing as a shrouded corpse, or a bundle of ashes which groaned as it billowed along, or as a headless man with his chest and belly broken open [see main pic]. Anyone bold enough to seize this spectre and tear out its heart could demand a reward for giving it back, but there is no record of anyone having made the attempt.

Pic 1: ‘put an obsidian knife into a bowl of water...’
Pic 1: ‘put an obsidian knife into a bowl of water...’ (Click on image to enlarge)

‘The only safe thing to do after seeing this apparition or one of the other ghostly beings (like the female goblins which haunted the dung heaps, or the severed head which leaped from the shadows) was to run home and put an obsidian knife into a bowl of water [pic 1] so that the demon, when it came to look at its reflection in the bowl, would be frightened away.’

Quote/info from Everyday Life of the Aztecs by Warwick Bray, Dorset Press, 1987, p.180
Picture sources:-
• Image from Book 5 of the Florentine Codex (original in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence) scanned from our own copy of the Club Internacional del Libro 3-volume facsimile edition, Madrid, 1994
• Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore.

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on Mar 14th 2018

emoticon Cool idea, but in the dead of night, how could the ghost see the reflection in the bowl...?!

Don’t go to the loo at night...!

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