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Image of Huitzilopochtli, Aztec God of War, c. 1900

Native Americans. Image of the Aztec God of War, Huitzilopochtli
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_A3104
 
Document Description
A stone image of the Aztec God of War, Huitzilopochtli, Mexico City. Photograph taken circa 1900.
 
Questions
Look at the engravings on the stones in this picture.  Why do you think they were made like that?
Look also at the "Sacrificial Stone of Tizoc" and the "Calendar Stone." 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
Huitzilopochtli (Blue Hummingbird on the Left) was the Aztec god of war and the sun.  He was the son of Coatlicue. To protect his mother, he killed his sister, Coyolxauhqui, and threw her head into the sky, where it became the moon.  Huitzilopochtli was shown with a blue face and body and with hummingbird feathers on his head and left leg.  Aztecs believed dead warriors came back to life as hummingbirds.
 
Essential Question
In what ways does art depict the values of a culture?
 
Check for Understanding
Describe the object in the photograph and explain the cultural significance of this object.