Arteplumaria – the Mexican art of feather painting

Did you know that one of the highest, most elegant and sumptuous arts of pre-Conquest Mexico was arteplumaria, the art of feather painting? Used to decorate headdresses, standards, staffs, lances, fans, bracelets, and sandals, arteplumaria was also employed to cover every one of the pre-Cortez ceremonial shields ever recovered or recorded. This rare type of ornamentation was […]

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Early pictorial and written sources of Aztec history

The pre-Hispanic history of Mexico is contained in the numerous pictorial codices or painted hieroglyphic books produced by the Aztecs, the Maya, the Mixtecs, and others. Unfortunately, very few pre-Conquest codices survived the Spanish Conquest and the destruction of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán in 1521. Of course we have the early writings of the […]

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Primary sources

The Maya, Aztecs, and other peoples of ancient Mexico had a very strong sense of their own history, which they went to great lengths to preserve. But in some ways, their concept of history differed radically from that of the invading Spaniards and later historians who wrote the history of Mexico from the European viewpoint. […]

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Reinventing the Aztecs, Part two

In Part One we looked at a new interpretation of ancient Aztec literature, which, if correct, calls into question, perhaps even invalidates, much of the previous research. To recapitulate: the current controversy centres on the Cantares Mexicanos, a collection of Aztec lyric poems recorded in Classical Nahuatl around the middle of the 16th century. Two Mexican scholars, […]

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Reinventing the Aztecs, Part three

In previous articles we looked at some Aztec lyric poems contained in the Cantares Mexicanos and other manuscript collections. The current controversy over the correct translation and interpretation of these poems in the classical Nahuatl language of Mexico-Tenochtitlán and surrounding area is an important issue in Mesoamerican studies because it calls into question the standard interpretation by […]

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Aztec calendar stone

Mesoamerican religious concepts: Aztec symbolism, Part Three

Mexican History The Aztec Calendar Stone is one of the most important monumental works of art left to us by the Aztecs. Since its discovery in what is now the main zocalo of Mexico City, it has been studied in minute detail. Much fairly accurate information about it is available to the public via the internet and […]

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