The Aztecs and their roots


‘The title of the exhibition, “The Aztecs and their roots’, indicates that the Aztec civilisation – the last to develop in native Mexico, starting from 1325 AD, has its roots in previous cultures: the Toltec culture (850 – 1150 AD: ancient post-classical era); the Teotihuacana culture (100 BC – 700 AD: classic era) and, further back in time, the “mother culture”, i.e. the culture of the Olmechs, a people born around the year 1000 BC along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The first section of the exhibition displays finds from the Teotihuacanan culture, whose name derives from the town of Teotihuacan, 40 km. north-east of today’s Mexico City; the second section is about the Toltec civilisation, which was centred around Tula, 80 km to the North of Mexico city; the previous sections lead us to the final one dedicated to the Mexica culture, i.e. to the Aztecs (1325 – 1521 AD) Many finds, which come from recent excavations (1978-1982), are considered by many experts to be the most important in the archaeology of the new world and have brought to light the treasures of the “Templo Mayor” in Tenochtitlan, today’s Mexico City. The great pyramid had two altars at its summit, one dedicated to Tla-loc, god of rain and life and one to Huit-zilopochtli, god of war, conquest and expansion, but also of death. It represented the symbol of the Aztec civilisation and its vision about the universe. It was at this temple that we now know that the Aztecs used to practise many human sacrifices. One of the panels of the exhibition states: “All the artistic, artisan, scien-tific, medicine, poetic, literary and astrono-mical abilities that the Aztecs had, did not reassure them in front of the feared tragedy of the sun not coming back; to guarantee the coming back of the sun even the most precious things in life could be sacrificed”. The exhibition, put together by Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and realised thanks to the contributions by Marcia Castro Leal, Silvia Gutierrez, Felipe Solis, Jose Manuel Figueroa, in collaboration with Rimini Civic Museums and the Mexican National Institute of History and Anthropology, exhibits statues, ornaments, funeral ur-ns, masks, pottery and jewels, ritual and musical objects, all coming from Mexico City: they all are invaluable objects with an often incomparable beauty.’


24 Agosto 1985 - 31 Agosto 1985


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions