General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 28 Nov 2020/4 Rain
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Article suitable for Top Juniors and above

Four codex representations of the Aztec Templo Mayor: one is the odd one out

‘Codex Corner’: odd one out

A puzzle for you! Here are four depictions of the Great Temple of the Aztecs (or Templo Mayor in Spanish as it’s commonly known). Which do you think is the odd one out? One of them is actually a ‘modern’ drawing - by the great Mexican historian and illustrator Miguel Covarrubias - but that’s not our odd-one-out. One has a serious mistake in it, but which...?! (Compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

The sources are:-
• Top left: Códice Matritense/Primeros Memoriales fol. 269r (detail)
• Top right: Codex Ixtlilxóchitl fol. 112v
• Bottom left: illustration by Miguel Covarrubias, from The Aztecs: People of the Sun
• Bottom right: Codex Telleriano-Remensis fol. 39r (detail)

The solution? It’s the last one (bottom right)! For some odd reason the scribe reversed the position of the two important shrines at the top: the one on the LEFT we know was dedicated to Tlaloc, god of rain and painted blue, and the one on the RIGHT to Huitizilpochtli, god of war, painted red. In this case, they’re shown the wrong way round. We’ll never know what was going through the scribe’s mind at the time...

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on May 30th 2020

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