Aztec Calendar Stone

“The Aztec Calendar Stone is one of the most famous objects in world archaeology, art history, and visual culture”. The Calendar Stone was built during the post classic era. It’s time of construction would have been the last years of the Aztec kingdom under the rule of Motecuhzoma II, before the conquest of 1519-1521. The Calendar Stone is a massive depiction of Aztec mythology. For example, inscribed in the stone, are 5 different suns which represent different eras. The fifth center sun represents the era that the Aztec in the early 1500’s were living in; the center sun is surrounded by the four previous suns that are named after the day that they ended. The Stone was originally thought to represent the Aztec calendar, but after further investigation over the years, the theory has changed. The Stone is now believed to have been laid vertically and was a cuauhxicalli meaning “eagle vessel”. This is where hearts would have been placed after they were removed in a sacrificial offering; it is also thought to be a temalacatl, a circular stone that was used for the gladiatorial sacrifice.


The burial of the Calendar Stone is estimated around the time of the second half of the sixteenth century and was not discovered until December 17th, 1790, underneath the Zocalo in Mexico City. The Stone is made of irregular basalt slab and weighs around twenty-four and half tons, with an eleven foot and five-inch diameter. The Calendar Stone is an unfinished piece that is an elaborate work of art and is filled with tons of symbolism found in Aztec mythology. Since its discovery, it has been one of the most recognizable symbols of the Aztec civilization and Mexico. The Calendar Stone has appeared as decoration on numerous items from official and popular culture; it has been replicated in bronze, silver, printed on merchandise, numerous photographs, and even printed on currency.


The Aztec Calendar Stone, became a very important national symbol during the Porfirio Diaz era. The Calendar Stone was used in the movement to unify the states of Mexico into a nation. The movement used the history and symbols of the indigenous people, particularly the Aztecs. Through this creation of a collection of indigenous history as one, it helped give birth to a nation because it gave Mexican citizens a unified background history. Today, the Calendar Stone is one of the most prominent symbols that represent Mexico because it embodies a deep cultural heritage of a sophisticated and advanced civilization. The Calendar Stone is currently located in the Museo Nacional De Antropoloía in Mexico City, where it is one of the biggest attractions.

Images

Aztec Calendar Stone Drawing

Aztec Calendar Stone Drawing

This is a reconstruction of the original coloring of the Aztec Calendar Stone, drawn by Victor Manuel Maldoando. His drawing allows us to see into the eyes of the Aztec who would have constructed it in the 1500™s. He provides us with a great illustration and shows the beauty of the stone in a new light. The illustration also demonstrates the elaborate detail and exquisiteness inscribed in the stone that otherwise would be tough to make out. This drawing is displayed on a plaque with a description of the stone at National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. | Source: https://goo.gl/images/RLwzE8 View File Details Page

Calendar symbols

Calendar symbols

These twenty symbols represent the twenty-days of the 260-day calendar called the tonalpohualli. Each of the 20 symbols represented had a different name, symbol, and represented a different deity. The Aztec were very advanced in mathematics and astronomical observation. They had two calendar the 260-days cycle and 365-day cycle. They were also able to predict astronomical events and keep track of the agricultural cycle. | Source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/04/85/b9/0485b94d569964c3d4d7e07e0fa3e76c.jpg View File Details Page

Sacrifice

Sacrifice

The Aztec Calendar Stone, when first discovered was theorized to be a calendar and related to astrological matters because the central face was an image of the sun and other calendrical symbols inscribed on the stone. After further investigation, the stone could not be proven to tell time or predict astrological events. It is now theorized that the stone was most likely used as a cuauhxicalli. This is where hearts would have been placed after they were removed in sacrificial offerings. | Source: https://qph.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-f6f0fe5d7d60dde7ed4ed48256ab2c66-c View File Details Page

Calendar Stone on currency

Calendar Stone on currency

The Aztec Calendar Stone is one of Mexico™s most profound symbols, because it demonstrations how advanced and gifted the Aztecs were as a civilization. Its popularity has been used throughout official and popular culture. The symbol has been displayed in every medium from food, merchandise, and currency. The Aztec Calendar Stone has been a symbol of curiosity and attracted people attention from all over the world. | Source: https://img1.etsystatic.com/178/3/5652390/il_fullxfull.1153233275_aswu.jpg View File Details Page

Porfirio Diaz with Calendar Stone

Porfirio Diaz with Calendar Stone

To build Mexico into a unified nation, the Mexican government used Indigenous people history and their symbols to create a nation history that all Mexicans could relate to as their past. This use of Mexico indigenous history was very prominent during the reign of Porfirio Diaz, who is in the picture in front of the Calendar Stone. The government under Diaz had a mission to take control of the ancient ruins and used the sites and artifices found to build a prestigious history for Mexico, which was supposed to unify the country. The Aztec Calendar Stone is one of the most well-known symbols in Mexican culture and has been used by the Mexican Government because it displays the astronomical and mathematical skills of Mexican ancestors. | Source: https://goo.gl/images/D5bc8q View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Caleb A Zavala, “Aztec Calendar Stone ,” HistoricalMX, accessed November 24, 2017, http://historicalmx.org/items/show/73.

Share this Story