The Aztec Stone Sculpture

Subject: Art
Type: Synthesis Essay
Pages: 2
Word count: 567
Topics: Architecture, Construction

The Mexico-Tenochtitlan artists between 15th and 16th century CE carved the Aztec stone sculptures. The art was dominant with the Olmec civilization stretching through Toltec, Teotihuacan and Maya civilization in the last 2000 years, with the original artwork still has not changed a bit. The Aztec stone sculpture excelled in carving three-dimensional human figures, human heads and animals. However much their artwork was impressive and still impressive to date, the Aztec warriors captured their enemy soldiers and sacrificed them to their gods.

The Aztec used materials harder than the stones, which they carved. To carve hard rocks, such as andesite to make stone carvings, they could not use the soft materials, such as gold, copper and bronze metals, which were readily availed to them. Form these carvings, the famous Tlaloc, which still stands in front of the Mexican’s National museum today, was created. The Mesoamerican art also carved the famous “feathered coyote.” At the peak of their artwork, the Aztec associated themselves with the role of “the people of the sun.” They transformed other monuments, such as “stone of Tozic,” in their events where they involved their gods and planets as part of their story-telling (Van, 2005).

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The Coyolxauhqui, an Aztec moon goddess, suggests that through the size of the head, one could establish whether the art is for the dead or a living person. The normal sized head represented a living person, while the smaller head proved that the art was for deities. In the art, her eyes are closed suggesting a death-portrait. The Aztec’s main mystery surrounding her death and the birth of his brother, Huitzilopochtli, could only be explained mythically. The myth states that Coyolxauhqui and her brothers became furious when they learned that their mother was pregnant with Huitzilopochtli. They ganged up on her as a way of sending her away. Suddenly, Huitzilopochtli sprang out of her mother’s womb as a full-grown man, armed as well. He fought them and killed his sister sending her head into the sky and becoming the goddess of the moon (Center for Inter-American Relations, 1976).

The Olmec seated person was one of the three-dimensional sculptures carved by the Aztec. Xochipilli, the Aztec’s patron of dance, songs and games, created the sculpture. The sculpture displayed two men seated in a relaxed position though vigilant. From these two images, it is right to say that sculptures could not easily be used to express human emotions. However, this sculpture was used to show that the two men had self-confidence and were ready to offer services to the people they served. Also, the Olmec jaguar sculpture was used to show the realism of a night-stalker in the night at a nearby bush. Such scary sculptures were used to help human relate well with nature by showing them which type of nature is friendly and which one is not (Boone, 1985).

The Aztec stone culture depicts the beliefs that existed with the Mesoamericans between the 15th and 16th centuries CE. They believed in gods of war and conquest. The sculpture of the Seated person was created to show that they were ready to provide services to their believers. The myth about Coyolxahqui and her brothers was used to prove that the moon was also being controlled by one of their goddesses. Human sculptures such as the colossal head enabled the Aztec to show whether a certain sculpture represents dead or living people.

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  1. Van, T. D. R. (2005). The Aztecs: New Perspectives. Santa Barbara Calif.: ABC-CLIO.
  2. Center for Inter-American Relations. (1976). Aztec stone sculpture: [catalog of an exhibition held] December 8, 1976-January 30, 1977 [at] the Center for Inter-American Relations. New York: Center for Inter-American Relations.
  3. Boone, E. H. (1985). Painted architecture and polychrome monumental sculpture in Mesoamerica: A symposium at Dumbarton Oaks, 10th to 11 October 1981. Washington, D.C: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.
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