Archeography

Fascinating eagle relief in Aztec Temple

The eagle bas-relief investigated. (Mirsa Islas-INAH/Newsflash)

Eagle has been a very important symbol for Mexican local people. A huge eagle relief was found in an Aztec temple. Aztecs made the eagle relief in 15th century and it is approximately 600 years old. Mexico’s Institute of National Anthropology and History (INAH) has been excavating the temple within the scope of Templo Mayor Project. Archaeologists have discovered the sculpture in 9th season of the project.

The eagle has been carved on the floor of Templo Mayor and it is the biggest relief of the temple which is 106 to 70 centimeters wide. Templo mayor is the most known temple of Aztecs and it has a pyramid shape. The temple is in the capital of ex Aztec, Tenochtitlan. Today it is within the borders of Mexico City.

A model of Tenochtitlan

Templo Mayor means major temple in our language. It is in the center of religion and culture of Aztecs. It is an enormous construction with two chapels dedicated to the god of sun (also the protector of city) Huitzilopochtli and the god of rain Tlaloc. It stands in the middle of 78 buildings and it is the biggest construction of the city.

Rock eagle or obsidian eagle was an important culturel symbol for Mexican people. In Aztec mythology, they believed that obsidian eagle was there while the sun was rising, so the black spot at the tip of its wings came into existance. When god Huitzilopochtli sacrificed his sister throwing down a mountain, an eagle witnessed this event like the eye of gods. The eagle relief found near Coyolxauhqui statue might have been dedicated to this story and other human victims.

According to researchers, this relief seems like the gold eagle on Codex Borgia, a famous Aztec manuscript. The plumes of newfound eagle seems like victim knives just as the gold eagle of Codex Borgia. Temple Mayor continues to surprise us. Thank you for reading.

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