The Coyolxauhqui stone. We believe art has the power to transform lives and to build understanding across cultures. Almost 11 feet across, engraved on its surface was the dismembered body of Coyolxauhqui, the Aztec moon goddess. Coyolxauhqui Stone, the remnants of a skull rack, and an Aztec calendar stone. The Head of Coyolxauhqui is three feet high and carved out of diorite, or greenstone. Her earrings are gold trappeze earrings. Daughter of Coatlicue. Today this monument stands in the National Museum in Mexico City. This monument, simply called the Coyolxauhqui Stone, is a very large, flattened circular stone and shows a relief of Coyolxauhqui’s dismembered body. Luis de Riaño and indigenous collaborators, Church of São Francisco de Assis, Ouro Preto, Mestre Valentim, Passeio Publico, Rio de Janeiro, Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos of Congonhas do Campo, 1757-1872, Independence from Spanish rule in South America, Early Scientific Exploration in Latin America, Latin American artistic pilgrimages to Paris, Mundurukú Headdress: a glimpse of life in the Amazon rainforest, Kayapó Headdress: a glimpse of life in the Amazon rainforest. Coyolxauhqui is the Aztec Moon Goddess. Her death represents the rise of power of the Aztecs. COYOLXAUHQUI Aztec Moon Goddess. Sometimes new constructi… David Smith (Dave) has a B.S. There are many visual details of the Head of Coyolxauhqui that have iconographic connections. In 1978, while digging in the basement of a bookstore, workers for Mexico City's power company hit a huge stone disk. The Office of Salvage Archaeology of the National Institute of Anthropology and History led a team of archaeologists in excavating the 3.25 meter wide stone disc. The smaller circular spots on the front of her headband represent down feathers. Coyolxauhqui is the sister and enemy of Huitzilopochtli, the patron god of the Mexica people who live in Tenochtitlan. Coyolxauhqui Stone is an Aztec Stone Sculpture created in 1500. The Head of Coyolxauhqui could similarly be propaganda for a king, where Coyolxauhqui represents a defeated enemy and so shows the power of his reign. in Mathematics and has enjoyed teaching precalculus, calculus, linear algebra, and number theory at both the junior college and university levels for over 20 years. And her daughter, Bells Her Cheeks or Coyolxauhqui, becomes enraged and rallies her 400 brothers to storm Snake Mountain and kill their mother "Snakey Skirt" or Coatlicue. Another explanation would be that 1 Rabbit is the mythical creation date of the Earth. The Coyolxauhqui Stone recreates the story of Coyolxauhqui, Huitzilopochtli's sister who was dismembered at the base of a mountain, just as the sacrificial victims were. Olmec mask (Olmec-style mask) Feathered headdress . Copyright © 2021 Dave4Math, LLC. Or it could be referring to the general year of 1 Rabbit as the year before 2 Reed, the year of New Fire Ceremonies. This leads us to theorize that while the Mexica had it as part of the Templo Mayor, the Spanish moved it during the early colonial period. The Aztecs are famous for their clash with Cortes during the discovery of the New World. Clearly the Head of Coyolxauhqui relates to the other large monument representing her, the stone showing her dismantled body. Fort Ancient Culture: Great Serpent Mound. Aztec Life Learned Through Remaining Sculpture, Choose your video style (lightboard, screencast, or markerboard), What is Electrical Engineering? Also, in the upper left corner is a badly damaged date glyph showing the year 1 Rabbit. The Aztec intended for the entire Templo Mayor to recreate this story, including this monument. The Colossal Head of Coyolxauhqui is a stone monument carved in pre-Columbian Tenochtitlan, the center of the Aztec world. Coyolxauhqui is also important to the Mexica as a part of the pantheon relating to the moon and fertility. The southern half of the Mayor temple symbolized Coatepec, and the big stone disk with Coyolxauhqui’s dismembered body was discovered at the foot of this side of the temple. In 1978, workmen uncovered a huge, eight-tonne sculpted stone disk depicting the scattered limbs of the Aztec moon goddess Coyolxauhqui. Around the edges were scattered her severed arms, legs and head. More generally, she symbolizes any enemy of the Mexica that will be cut down by the people of Huitzilopochtli. Help Smarthistory continue to make a difference, Help make art history relevant and engaging, Defining “Pre-Columbian” and “Mesoamerica”, Introduction to the Spanish Viceroyalties in the Americas, About geography and chronological periods in Native American art, Fort Ancient Culture: Great Serpent Mound, Mississippian shell neck ornament (gorget), Olmec mask at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Mesoamerican ballgame and a Classic Veracruz yoke, Yaxchilán—Lintels 24 and 25 from Structure 23 and structures 33 and 40, The Templo Mayor and the Coyolxauhqui Stone, Remembering the Toxcatl Massacre: The Beginning of the End of Aztec Supremacy, Mirror Pendant in the Form of a Bat-Human From Grave 5, Sitio Conte, Global trade and an 18th-century Anishinaabe outfit, Juana Basilia Sitmelelene, Presentation Basket (Chumash), Pueblo architecture and its relationship to place, Puebloan: Maria Martinez, Black-on-black ceramic vessel, Contemporary Native American Architecture, Prints and Printmakers in Colonial New Spain, Hispaniola’s early colonial art, an introduction, Classical Architecture in Viceregal Mexico, Mission churches as theaters of conversion in New Spain, The Convento of San Nicolás de Tolentino, Actopan, Hidalgo, Murals from New Spain, San Agustín de Acolman, A Renaissance miniature in wood and feathers, Mission Church, San Esteban del Rey, Acoma Pueblo, Biombo with the Conquest of Mexico and View of Mexico City, Francisco Clapera, set of sixteen casta paintings, Inventing “America,” The Engravings of Theodore de Bry, Portraits of John and Elizabeth Freake (and their baby), Gerardus Duyckinck I (attributed), Six portraits of the Levy-Franks family, c. 1735, Ostentatious plainness: Copley's portrait of the Mifflins, The Mexican-American War: 19th-century American art in context, John Brown’s “tragic prelude” to the U.S. Civil War, Thomas Hovenden, The Last Moments of John Brown, The end of an era: Remington's The Fall of the Cowboy, Inventing America, Colt’s Experimental Pocket Pistol, Seneca Village: the lost history of African Americans in New York, Cultures and slavery in the American south: a Face Jug from Edgefield county, Carleton Watkins, Eagle Creek, Columbia River, William Howard (attributed), Writing desk, The light of democracy — examining the Statue of Liberty, Carrère & Hastings, The New York Public Library, Herter Brothers, Mark Hopkins House Side Chair, Robert Mills and Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lincoln Casey, Washington Monument, Landscape Painting in Nineteenth-Century Latin America, Complexity and vision: the Staff God at Chavín de Huántar and beyond, Nasca Art: Sacred Linearity and Bold Designs, Semi-subterranean Court at the site of Tiwanaku, Inka ushnus: landscape, site and symbol in the Andes, Portrait Painting in the Viceroyalty of Peru, Introduction to religious art and architecture in early colonial Peru, Early Viceregal Architecture and Art in Colombia, The Church of San Pedro Apóstol de Andahuaylillas. Start studying Unit 1: Aztecs Art & Culture. (Summary), About the Visual Arts and Why They Are Important, Death and Persecution in the Early Renaissance, About the Performing Arts and Why They Are Important, About Languages and Why They Are Important, About Law and Why It Is Important (Eight Types), Outstanding Philosophers (10 Inspiring Careers), Metaethics from a First-Person Standpoint, Exploring Movie Construction and Production. Another monument with a 1 Rabbit glyph is the Teocalli of Sacred Warfare, a stone model of a temple. We created Smarthistory to provide students around the world with the highest-quality educational resources for art and cultural heritage—for free. Nicholson suggests that the mentioned the head as part of the temple during the rule of Ahuitzotl, an earlier tlatoani, or king, of Tenochtitlan. Strictly speaking the Aztecs did not call themselves Aztecs, but rather Mexica. The myth of Coyolxauhqui, as collected by Sahagún, is integral to the myth-history of the Mexica people. The Coyolxauhqui stone was found directly at the base of the stairway leading up to Huitzilopochtli's temple. The Great Aztec Temple saw many human sacrifices, and was soon destroyed by Spanish colonists in 1521. David is the founder and CEO of Dave4Math. The next year, 2 Reed, would represent the birth of the new world, in which Huitzilopochtli, and the Mexica themselves, are in power. Today, political dealings continue at Palacio Nacional. Her mother, Coatlicue, became magically pregnant when a crown of feathers fell in Her lap. The circular pattern of bright yellow or orange petals of the cempoalxochitl flower is an obvious connection to the sun. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Investigate: Recognizes the effect of different perspectives and points of view on information while reading an excerpt from Cortés’s 1520 letter to Charles V as well as while examining an annotated codex of the tribute system and a model of chinampas. On February 21, 1978, a group of workers for the Mexico City electric-power company came across a large shield-shaped stone covered in reliefs while digging. Archeologists found most the monumental sculptures in downtown Mexico City. This suggests that the Mexica conceived and used the Templo Major as a ritual space rather than as a pedestal for the temples at the top. They dedicated the right side of the temple to Huitzilopochtli and used it to represent the mountain Coatepec where he was born. On this monument, the 1 Rabbit glyph is with the 2 Reed glyph, representing the transition of the cosmos from New Fire Ceremony. As it is the birthplace of Huitzilopochtli, and so the beginning of the Mexica source of power. As the story goes, directly after his birth, Huitzilopochtli defended his mother from Coyolxauhqui, dismembered her body, and threw it from the top of the sacred mountain Coatepec. For example, we can see the bells on her cheeks for which Coyolxauhqui is named. Speakers: Dr. Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank and Dr. Steven Zucker, https://smarthistory.org/templo-mayor-at-tenochtitlan-the-coyolxauhqui-stone-and-an-olmec-mask/. All rights reserved. On both sides of the stairway’s base were two large grinning serpent heads. References • Haslemere Educational Museum copy of the stone of Tizoc • The Word Made Stone. Seler hypothesizes that the Aztec placed the Head of Coyolxauhqui on a platform on the temple. This includes the contemporary political climate and similar stone works that would have been displayed in  pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. This flower is the cempoalxochitl, or “Mexican marigold”. This suggests that the Mexica conceived and used the Templo Major as a ritual space rather than as a pedestal for the temples at the top. new$york$state$socialstudies$resource$toolkit$ $ $$$$$ $$$$$ $ thisworkislicensedunder$a$creative$commons$attribution5noncommercial5sharealike4.0 A presidential decree gave permission for … Unearthing the Aztec past, the destruction of the Templo Mayor (Mexico City) . The Templo Major shows the importance of this story to the Aztec. This date corresponds to the year 1479 AD, which, according to archaeologist Emily Umberger is an anniversary date of a politically crucial event: the birth of the sun and the rebirth of We see this in the circular Coyoxauhqui Stone. It could also mean that the severed head of Coyolxauhqui is a source of power; that as a goddess, she carries both destructive fire and creative water inside of her. He then chased down the Four Southerners, from the top of Coatepetl to the foot of the mountain. At this time, archaeologists had found only a few Aztec monuments, like the Calendar Stone and the Coatlicue Monument. The dualism that she embodies is powerfully concretized in her image: her face is of two fanged serpents and her skirt is of interwoven snakes (snakes This would make it seem like for each phase added to the temple, each new tlatoani made preperations to recreate the mythical setting of Coatepec and the story of Huitzilopochtli’s birth. This could mean that Coatepec is a source of power. Also known as Coyolxanuhqui. It lives at the Templo Mayor Museum in Mexico. Cite this page as: Dr. Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank, "The Templo Mayor and the Coyolxauhqui Stone," in, Featured | Art that brings U.S. history to life, At-Risk Cultural Heritage Education Series. During the calamitous time of the Conquest, spaniards, or even indigenous community members, would deliberately move and change Aztec monuments. Argentina streets when they encountered a huge, round stone covered with Aztec reliefs. The Spanish took over the city as they colonized, building their colony over the ruins. Includes an interview with the archaeologist who led the excavations. During this time, the Spanish began to use the monuments for building Nueva Espana, which would explain how it wound up being used in the foundations of a church. Thus recreating the story at Coatepec in the middle of the city. We believe that the brilliant histories of art belong to everyone, no matter their background. Also, the sculptors carved her with drooping eyelids, showing that she is dead. Also there appears to be a triangle, presumably representing gold, piercing her lips. The two snakes could represent the mountain where the story happens and where Coyolxauhqui dies, Coatepec, or Snake Mountain. . The sculptors carved a relief showing two snakes entwined with water, ropes of fire, and plumes on the bottom of the monument. Dave will help you with what you need to know, Calculus (Start Here) – Enter the World of Calculus, Mathematical Proofs (Using Various Methods), Chinese Remainder Theorem (The Definitive Guide), Math Solutions: Step-by-Step Solutions to Your Problems, Math Videos: Custom Made Videos For Your Problems, LaTeX Typesetting: Trusted, Fast, and Accurate, LaTeX Graphics: Custom Graphics Using TikZ and PGFPlots. In this paper, we have examined the iconography of the Head of Coyolxauhqui to attempt to explain the importance and function of the monument. The many symbols carved into the stone aid the telling of that story. The body would be carried away and either cremated or given to the warrior responsible for the capture of the victim. The fire and water together are the Aztec glyph for atl-tlachinolli. The use of Aztec dimensions has helped to see meaning in the structure of the design and has given some insight into the artist’s knowledge of mathematics. and M.S. For example, when I think of the Aztecs myths, the Coyolxauhqui Stone from the Templo Mayor comes to mind. The function of many Aztec monuments is dependent on their placement. This could be simply the year the Aztec finished this monument. Coatlicue, lived in Coatepec, where he swept for penance. The nose-adornment is common for the time period. The image of Coyolxauhqui is beautifully rendered in the massive stone relief that was found at the Great Temple (Templo Mayor). Eagle feathers make up The rest of the headband and it has a flower on the top. This monument includes the head and a relief carving on the base. However, the symbolism presents many different ideas about how the Mexica would have conceptualized the death of a goddess. However, what remains today is an incomplete picture, but by analyzing artifacts like the Colossal Head of Coyolxauhqui, we can learn more about the past inhabitants of Tenochtitlan. The Sun Stone (The Calendar Stone) Coyolxauhqui Stone. But before that happens, Huitzilopochtli, this patron god of the Aztecs springs fully armed to defend his mother from her death and he chops the head off his sister and throws her body off the moutain where it breaks into pieces and she lands at the base of the mountain. The eagle feathers on her headband also connect to the idea of the sun, which references the cempoalxochitl flower. Unearthing the Aztec past, the destruction of the Templo Mayor. Together these iconographic features would have allowed any knowledgeable Mexica person to understand the underlying mythological connections secured to the monument. Dave4Math » Humanities » Coyolxauhqui (Analysis of the Head of Coyolxauhqui). This would explain why there are multiple sculptures of Coyolxauhqui for the Templo Mayor. The Mexica placed examples of these in offering deposits around the Templo Mayor. But from Coatlicue’s pregnant womb sprang new brother Huitzilopochtli, who was somewhat over-protective of his mum and cut Coyolxauhqui ’s head off. The Templo Mayor is the image of Coatepec or Serpent Mountain where the divine battle took place. We see this in the circular Coyoxauhqui Stone. So ubiquitous that it has been used on currency, this unfinished stone records Aztec history and a future prophecy. The Mexica intended it to be viewed through the context of the time. In Mexica tradition, this flower is connected to death, which connects to Coyolxauhqui’s death at the hands of her brother. Her name means "Golden Bells." On both sides of the stairway's base were two large grinning serpent heads. The Templo Mayor was dedicated to two deities, Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli. This is the currently selected item. This means the Aztec created this monument as of her head after her brother killed her, rather than a sculpture of her as she would have been alive. We will discuss its iconographical significance, theorize reasons for its creation, its function in the pre-Columbian world, and what became of the monument since. During the calamitous time of the Conquest, spaniards, or even indigenous community members, would deliberately move and change Aztec … However, we can theorize. The Aztec sun stone was dedicated to Motecuhzoma II and was likely carved during his reign, 1502-1520. Construction of this temple began in 1325 CE, and it was the main temple of worship for the Aztecs in their capital of Tenochtitlan (present-day Mexico City). Because the relief would have been touching the ground, this symbolically means the blood from her death flows into the earth. However for many this is where their story begins and ends. Many of those reliefs were either of Tlaltecutli or relating to him. In 1829, archeologists unearthed a colossal pre-Columbian stone monument from a colonial church’s foundations in Mexico City. The Aztecs’ center of the universe became Centro Historico, or El Centro, the apex of public and religious life. In the center lay her torso, naked but for a belt of snakes. The family drama that lead to Coyolxuahqui’s dismemberment represented here has great soap opera potential. This is because she is the sister of the god Huitzilopochtli, the patron deity of the Mexica people. Between 1325 and 1519, the Templo Mayor was expanded, enlarged, and reconstructed during seven main building phases, which likely corresponded with different rulers, or tlatoani (“speaker”), taking office. She had been slain and cut to … (Throughout this class both terms, Aztec and Mexica, will be used to refer to this dominant people of late pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.) We will discuss the iconographical significance, theorize reasons for its creation, its function in the pre-Columbian world, and what became of the monument since. The myth can be interpreted as Huitzilopochtli is the dawn that kills the moon, or Coyolxauhqui, and her 400 brothers, the stars. Coyolxauhqui, represented with bells on her cheeks, is the daughter of Coatlicue, She of the Serpent Skirt. The Mexica would understand this to represent her power and life-force are given to Tlaltecutli, the embodiment of the Earth. A sign representing the date 13 Acatl, 13 Reed, is visible on the surface of the stone. This means water and scorched-earth, signifying warfare, destruction, and something with great power. Sources Source A: The Coyolxauhqui Stone (temple entry stone) Source B: Tzompantli (skull rack) Source C: Tonamatl (Aztec calendar stone) 3. Because we do not know where the monument was kept during pre-Colonial times, we are unable to entirely know its function. The sacrifice was considered an offering to the deity. Some of them are more obvious than others. This would connect to Coyolxauhqui’s death because the New Fire Ceremony is a rebirth of the Mexica power and a continuation of the cosmos. Terms and Issues in Native American Art. All we have is a brief mention of stone carvers by Bernardino de Sahagun, the great Franciscan chronicler of 16th century Aztec life, and a drawing of Aztec stone workers in a quarry executed in a heavily Europeanized style (Pic 2). In 1829, archaeologists unearthed it from the foundations of a colonial church in Mexico City. In this case, Coyolxauhqui’s death would represent the death of the old world. Supporting Question How did Tenochtitlán sustain itself? The image is clear. The Aztec placed it in front of the steps of the Huitzilopochtli side of the Templo Mayor. The Aztec placed it in front of the steps of the Huitzilopochtli side of the Templo Mayor. 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