General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 20 Apr 2021/4 Wind
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Aztec toy dog on wheels

Just ‘toying’ with wheels?

The Aztecs used wheels in children’s toys (such as small wheeled dogs made of pottery or occasionally obsidian) yet never considered using wheels for transport technology! A cart would have been next to useless in Mesoamerica; for a start, who or what would have pulled it? The Aztecs had no large pack animals, and human porters were more efficient at carrying individual packs over large distances (follow the link below to our page on porters). (Written/compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

‘Mesoamerican Xoloitzcuintli Dog artwork on Wheels’ - short video by Gilbert Estrada

Pic 1: Jaguar on wheels (replica, from the INAH collection)
Pic 1: Jaguar on wheels (replica, from the INAH collection) (Click on image to enlarge)

In cases where large heavy rocks had to be transported, humans were employed to pull them using ropes, rollers and platforms.

Pic 2: Wheeled dog figurine made of obsidian
Pic 2: Wheeled dog figurine made of obsidian (Click on image to enlarge)

The earliest known wheeled animal figure came from the ‘Classic Period’ (roughly, 300-900 AD or CE), found in the Huastec region of the Gulf of Mexico lowlands, whereas most date from the ‘Postclassic’ Period (from 900 to the time of the Conquest), and most are of dogs, jaguars, monkeys and deer. But were they toys? Some experts believe the use of animal figures suggest links to the ancient belief in ‘alter egos’ (companion spirits - follow link below to learn more), and the wheels might have suggested movement, vitality - life itself.

by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore

Most things were trans’porter’ble

The ‘nahual’ or companion spirit

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