Which Artifact Is Found at Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology?
Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology is home to a vast collection of artifacts that showcase the rich history and cultural heritage of Mexico. Among the many treasures housed within its walls, one artifact stands out as a symbol of ancient Mexican civilization – the Aztec Sun Stone, also known as the Stone of the Sun or the Calendar Stone.
The Aztec Sun Stone is an iconic piece of stone sculpture that was discovered in 1790 in the heart of Mexico City. It was originally located at the southeastern corner of the Plaza Mayor, a central square in the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, which is now the site of the city’s cathedral. The stone was buried for centuries until it was accidentally unearthed during the construction of the cathedral.
The stone itself is an immense circular disc, measuring nearly 12 feet in diameter and weighing more than 24 tons. It is made of solid basalt, a volcanic rock commonly found in the region. The surface of the stone is intricately carved with a series of concentric rings, representing different aspects of Aztec cosmology and mythology.
At the center of the stone is the face of the sun god Tonatiuh, with his tongue protruding and surrounded by a ring of flames. The surrounding rings depict various symbols and images, including representations of the four previous suns that the Aztecs believed had been destroyed and the fifth sun, which they believed was the current era. Additionally, the stone features intricate calendrical and astronomical elements, reflecting the Aztec’s advanced knowledge of astronomy and timekeeping.
The Aztec Sun Stone is not only a remarkable work of art but also serves as an important historical document. It provides valuable insights into the religious and cosmological beliefs of the Aztec civilization, as well as their understanding of the passage of time. The stone’s intricate carvings and symbols offer a glimpse into the complex worldview of the Aztecs and their understanding of the universe.
Today, the Aztec Sun Stone is prominently displayed in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. It is housed in the museum’s Aztec Hall, where it is surrounded by numerous other artifacts from the ancient Aztec civilization. The museum provides visitors with an opportunity to study the stone up close and learn about its significance in Aztec culture.
Q: How old is the Aztec Sun Stone?
A: The Aztec Sun Stone is estimated to have been carved around 1479-1481, during the reign of the Aztec emperor Axayacatl.
Q: How was the Aztec Sun Stone used?
A: While there is ongoing debate among scholars, it is believed that the stone served as both a ceremonial platform and a calendar. It likely played a role in religious rituals and ceremonies as well.
Q: How was the Aztec Sun Stone discovered?
A: The stone was accidentally discovered in 1790 during the construction of Mexico City’s cathedral. It was buried for centuries beneath the city’s central square.
Q: Is the Aztec Sun Stone the only artifact at the National Museum of Anthropology?
A: No, the National Museum of Anthropology houses a vast collection of artifacts from various indigenous cultures of Mexico, including the Aztecs. The museum showcases sculptures, pottery, textiles, and other objects of historical and cultural significance.
Q: Can visitors take photographs of the Aztec Sun Stone?
A: Yes, visitors are allowed to take photographs of the Aztec Sun Stone and other artifacts within the museum. However, the use of flash photography is prohibited to protect the delicate surfaces of the objects.
In conclusion, the Aztec Sun Stone is a remarkable artifact that holds immense cultural and historical significance. Its presence in the National Museum of Anthropology allows visitors to delve into the ancient Aztec civilization and gain a deeper understanding of their beliefs and achievements. The stone stands as a testament to the creativity and sophistication of the Aztecs, and its preservation ensures that their legacy continues to be celebrated and appreciated today.