You are here

Aztec Sacrificial Stone, Tizoc, Mexico, 1911

Native Americans. Sacrificial Stone, or Sacred Stone of Tizoc
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_137
 
Document Description
The Sacrificial Stone, or Sacred Stone of Tizoc, Mexico City. Photograph taken in 1911.
 
Questions
What is the shape of this stone?
What pictures do you see on it?
Look at the engravings on the stone.  Why do you think it was made like that?
Look also at the "Calendar Stone" and the "Image of Huitzilopochtli."  Describe the different parts of Aztec life that are reflected in these three sculptures.
What does this image have in common with the other two Aztec sculptures? 
Why would Aztec sculptures have these designs?
 
Historical Challenges
The Sun Stone was originally placed on the main temple in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. It faced south and was painted bright red, blue, yellow, and white. Research what parts of the Sun Stone were painted, and make a small clay model of one section of the Sun Stone, painting it in its original colors.
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: Find the circumference of the Sun Stone. It is divided into eight equal sections. What would be the length of the outer side of each section?
Science: The Aztecs used herbal medicines to relieve patients’ symptoms. Find out what herbs were used as remedies and what illnesses they relieved.
English Language Arts: Write a myth explaining why Aztecs believed that dead warriors returned as hummingbirds.
 
Resources
MacDonald, Fiona. How to Be an Aztec Warrior. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2005. ISBN: 0792236327
MacDonald, Fiona, Mark Bergin, and David Salariya. How Would You Survive as an Aztec? Scholastic Library Publishing, 1997. ISBN: 0531153045
Nicholson, Sue. Aztecs and Incas. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. ISBN: 0753452367
Smith, Michael E. The Aztecs (Peoples of America). Blackwell Publishers, 2002. ISBN: 0631230165
Steele, Philip. The Aztec News. Candlewick Press, 2000. ISBN: 0763604275
Tagholm, Sally. Everyday Life in the Ancient World: A Guide to Travel in Ancient Times. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002. ISBN: 0753454645
 

Historical Context
The Sacrificial Stone of Tizoc is six feet in diameter and four feet high.  It was originally built to commemorate Tizoc’s victories over other tribes, but it was later used for human sacrifices.  On the face of the stone is a sun, to which the stone is dedicated.  On the sides of the stone are fifteen pairs of people, Tizoc being one of them.  They are wearing different types of dress and possibly represent the tribes Tizoc conquered.  A canal runs from the center of the stone to the edge of it, which symbolizes the “canal of blood left by Tizoc in his path.”
 
Essential Question
How does geography influence the development of a society?
 
Check for Understanding
Describe the object depicted in this image and explain the role of the environment and culture in the creation of this object.