ES - EN - FR - PT - IT

Anthropology Museum

Don't miss anything

Sun stone

The Stone of the Sun or also called the Aztec Calendar. Actually, this stone was not a calendar, but a gladiatorial combat platform. Its function was to serve as a sacrificial stone, where once the heart of the captive warrior was removed it fed the Sun giving it the blood and heart of the slain. The idea was that you had to feed the Sun so that it would not stop walking; hence the presence of the previous suns and the days, because those were created by the action of creation-destruction, generated by the struggle between the gods.

Within this monolith are described the movements of the stars and some cycles where the months lasted twenty days, the eighteen months and the 52 years. The sculptural motifs that cover its surface seem to be a summary of the complex Mexica cosmogony. Let's start with the central disk:
- Tonatiuh's face is seen in the middle of the disc, and on the sides his hands armed with eagle claws that squeeze human hearts, because the sun is conceived by the Aztecs like an eagle that in the morning, ascending to heaven, Cuauhtlehuánitl calls, "the eagle that ascends", and in the afternoon it is called Cuauhtémoc, "the eagle that fell", name of the last and unfortunate Aztec emperor ".
- The four squares surrounding the central deity represent the previous four suns that preceded the current Fifth Sun.
• In the upper right square the 4 Jaguar is represented, the day that, after 676 years, the first was finished when emerging from the bowels of the earth, monsters that devoured people.
• On your left, there is 4 Wind that remembers that after 364 years, hurricane winds shook the earth and made those who did not perish become monkeys.
• Under it, 4 Rain. This world lasted 312 years and those who lived in it, perished or turned turkeys after a rain of fire.
• In the lower right square there is 4 Water, anteroom of our world, which lasted 676 years and ended when those who inhabited it died imprisoned by the waters and transformed into fish.
- The ring or disc that surrounds the sun, forms a crown with pictograms of the twenty baptized days of the Aztec sacred calendar, Tonalpohualli in an anticlockwise direction. These twenty days were combined with thirteen numbers until a sacred year of two hundred and sixty days was formed.
- The second ring contains several square sections, in each section containing five points the five-day weeks are represented. There are also eight angles that divide the stone into eight parts, which probably represent the sun's rays placed in the direction of the cardinal points.
- The third ring at the lower end of the stone, open the jaws of two Xiuhcóatl ("snakes of fire"), which surround and frame the stone and carry the god through the sky, facing each other. Their bodies are divided into sections that could symbolize flames. These sections could represent fifty-two annual cycles: the Mexica century consisted of 52 years (each correspondence between the beginning of the civil year with the sacred one, of 365 and 260 days, respectively). Every time a cycle of 52 years ended, the New Fire ceremony was celebrated.
This stone was discovered in 1790 and then preserved inside the Cathedral for years. The cult of the Sun was particularly important for the Mexica. The sun is the one that fecundates the earth, allows the development of life and clears us from the shadows of darkness whenever it overcomes the moon and the stars.

Anthropology Museum