Melbourne Museum turned out another fine exhibition this season with "Aztecs". The journal below is my take on the event, focusing on objects I found most fascinating, and including facts that hitherto I had not understood or known.
|One of the cool representations of Aztec art on display at the exhibit|
The Aztec empire began around 1300AD - another fact I was unaware of, although the nation we know as the Aztec empire proper formally began as a unification of 3 nations closer to 1400AD. They were fascinated by other previous meso American races that they believed they sprang from.
I was struck by the complexity of the art and glyphs we were presented with. There is a denseness of skull and death imagery that to modern eyes can only be viewed as macabre, try as I might otherwise. In trying to understand the blood lust that featured quite heavily in the exhibit, much pondering took place. We try to see how the sense of sacrifice and blood letting being a giving back to the gods that suffered when they created the world as a reason for such acts, but can this truly be understood with the head alone?
|These Aztec whistles were used in war. The sound of one - played on the audio tour - is one of the most chilling sounds I have ever heard. I want one.|
There was a sense of death in many of the pieces featured. I only had the feeling that one statue was "occupied": that of Quetzlcoatl. The exhibition featured a lot on Quetzlcoatl as well as Xochipili (god of spring flowers, gay men and male prostitutes); Tezcatlipoca (god of war and destiny) and the other two main gods were Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli.
Xoxhipili was one of two of these deities that got my attention. An interactive page featuring a statuette of Him including fascinating references to the Aztecs use of number for divination as well as plants for rituals (read entheogenic trance) is here.
|Xochipli - most likely one of my patron deities if I lived in Aztec times|
"He is associated with a wide range of concepts, including the night sky, the night winds, hurricanes, the north, the earth, obsidian, enmity, discord, rulership, divination, temptation, jaguars, sorcery, beauty, war and strife. His name in the Nahuatl language is often translated as "Smoking Mirror" and alludes to his connection to obsidian, the material from which mirrors were made in Mesoamerica and which was used for shamanic rituals".
|Tezcatlipoca - most likely the other main deity for me if I lived in Aztec times (source: Wikipedia - Borgia Codex)|
|The Aztec god of the dead, Mictlantecuhtli|
comes from the name that the Aztecs called themselves.
|Aztec eagle warrior|