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Anthropology Museum

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Stone of Tizoc

In the year of 1791, on December 17, Antonio de León y Gama, astronomer and "anthropologist" of New Spain, discovered in the Plaza Mayor of Mexico City a circular sculpture known as the Stone of Tizoc, a which was mistakenly believed to be the Gladiatorial Sacrificial Altar, the cuauhxicalli, on which the gladiatorial exercise was sacrificed, and where the victim fought four warriors to save his life.

Thanks to a small name glyph in the form of a leg on the left side of the character with the most elaborate headdress, it is known that the stone is associated with Tizoc, ruler of Mexico-Tenochtitlan (1481-1486). Fifteen conquests were represented on the side face. In addition to the conquering character and the conquered, you can see a glyph that corresponds to the population that has been submitted. These scenes are limited by two bands: the upper one represents the celestial sphere and the lower one the terrestrial one. The upper face shows a solar disk and a channel that starts in a hole in the center and empties into one of its sides. The cavity and channel appear to be a subsequent intentional destruction.

When removing the stone, the workers destroyed others of great value for the history of the Mexica. The Stone of Tízoc was going to run the same fate, unless a religious named Gamboa prevented it, and ordered that it be placed northwest of the Cathedral cemetery. In this place, it remained until the year 1824, when it was taken to the patio of the University, site then destined for National Museum. Finally, in 1964 it was taken to the National Museum of Anthropology and History, where today it can be admired.

Anthropology Museum