Blog Precolumbian

Aztec Sun Stone

The Aztec Sun Stone – also known as the Aztec Calendar Stone – is an enormous circular stone carved from basalt, covered with hieroglyphic carvings, weighing 25 tons, 3.60 meters in diameter and 98 cm thick. It is estimated that it was carved by the Aztecs between 1500 and 1521 AD, before the colonization of the American continent.

The Aztec Sun Stone was found on December 17, 1790, by pavers half a meter below the Zócalo, Mexico City’s main square. Researchers believe that the Aztec Sun Stone was first located horizontally in the ceremonial site of the Aztec head Tenochtitlán, and possibly in the area where the rituals of human sacrifice took place. The stone, which was taken from its location after the Spanish occupation, was buried sometime later by Archbishop Alonso de Montúfar, probably facing down in the late 1550s.

The Aztec Sun Stone

The Aztec Sun Stone

After the Aztec Sun Stone, which had been buried for nearly 250 years, was discovered by workers. Spanish Colonial and Catholic Church officials planned to use the Calendar Stone as a symbolic expression of Christianity’s victory over the pagan as a steppingstone in front of the cathedral where the congregation’s feet cleared their mud.

However, the Mexican scientist Antonio de León y Gama intervened and convinced the governor-general that the Calendar Stone was not a religious sculpture but rather a chronological and astronomical tool and therefore deserved protection. Thanks to this, the stone was placed on one of the outer walls of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City. The Aztec Sun Stone was moved to the Museo Nacional on Moneda Street in 1885 and to the National Anthropology Museum in 1964.

The Aztec Sun Stone T-Shirt
Price: $21.59
  • Available on Amazon US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan stores and Redbubble (worldwide).
  • Fit Type: Men & Women.
  • Other Products on Amazon (US): Tank TopPremium T-ShirtLong SleeveSweatshirt and Pullover Hoodie.
  • The Aztec Sun Stone - also known as the Aztec Calendar Stone - is an enormous circular stone carved from basalt, covered with hieroglyphic carvings, weighing 25 tons, 3.60 meters in diameter and 98 cm thick.
  • It is estimated that it was carved by the Aztecs between 1500 and 1521 AD, before the colonization of the American continent.

Like other early Mexican societies, the Aztecs’ economy was heavily dependent on agriculture (such as growing maize, beans, and squash) and depended on the sun for agriculture. The Aztecs believed that to maintain its movement in the sky and prevent the landing of eternal cosmic darkness and terrible demons on Earth, they had to regularly feed the Sun god with offerings (for example, human sacrifice).

The Aztec Sun Stone’s function is thought to be a ceremonial altar. In the center of the Aztec Sun Stone, thought to have been painted in its original form, the sun god Tonatuih sits in the middle, holding a human heart in both of his claw-shaped hands. Its outstretched tongue means votive knife for sacrificial ceremonies. There are four squares around the center of the stone.

New York State Archives, Aztec Sun Stone, 1886.

New York State Archives, Aztec Sun Stone, 1886.

These four squares symbolize the four periods of the eras before the Aztec Sun Stone was made. The Aztecs called these periods “the Sun.”

The depiction of the Sun god Tonatiuh is surrounded by a large ring containing a calendar and cosmological symbols. The ring around the central disc contains 20 signs, which are the basic units of the Aztec calendar. These 20 signs consisted of 13- day units. The 260 days in this holy calendar were divided into twenty periods of 13 days each, making up the 260-day holy “Tonalpohualli” calendar.

The Aztecs used two calendar systems. One of these calendars is a 365-day calendar cycle called Xiuhpohualli, meaning “count of the year,” and the other is a 260-day ritual cycle known as Tonalpohualli, meaning “count of days.”

The Xiuhpohualli formed the basis of the civic calendar, in which the Aztecs set numerous ceremonies and rituals linked to agricultural cycles. The calendar consisted of 18 months, each lasting 20 days. The months were divided into four five-day weeks. The year was completed to 365 days by adding a five-day period (free days), which is an ominous period marked by the cessation of normal activities and general abstinence.

No dates are repeated for 52 years in these two calendars working together. The Aztecs acknowledged that the universe would be in great danger when the dates in these two calendars were repeated, and they organized sacrificial ceremonies for the survival of their communities.

center of aztec sun stone

The Sun god Tonatuih sits in the middle holding a human heart in both his claw- shaped hands.

The second outer ring, outside the ring of calendar dates, contains a series of boxes containing radiating sun rays and five dots, each representing the five-day Aztec week. The largest of the signs representing the rays of the Sun are thought to point to four main directions (north, south, east, and west). The Aztecs believed that the universe consisted of four parts associated with these four main directions. In the third ring of the Aztec Sun Stone, two fire serpents are carved, carrying the Sun god in his daily passage from the sky. At the top of the stone, there is an inscription of Aztec history, the fifth and last date marking the beginning of the era.

Colorized Replica of Aztec Sun Stone. Replica was cast from the original in the Museo Nacional de Antropología, Chapultepec Park, Mexico City, Mexico.

Quetzalcóatl T-Shirt
Price: $21.59
(3 customer reviews)
  • This design was inspired by the Quetzalcóatl bas-relief at the Feathered Serpent Temple in Teotihuacan. Quetzalcóatl was drawn and colored with Mexican colors.
  • The name of Quetzalcóatl comes from the ancient Nahuatl word quetzalli, meaning “long green feather”. The second part of Quetzalcoatl’s name comes from the word coatl, meaning “snake”.
  • In Mesoamerican myth Quetzalcóatl was the god of winds and rain, and the creator of the world and humanity.
  • Available on Amazon US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan stores and Redbubble (worldwide),
  • Other Products on Amazon (US): Tank TopV-NeckPremium T-ShirtLong SleeveSweatshirt, Pullover Hoodie,
  • Fit Type: Men & Women,
  • Machine wash cold with like colors, dry low heat.
Be cheerful, enjoy your life T-Shirt
Price: $21.59
(16 customer reviews)
  • Available on Amazon US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan stores and Redbubble (worldwide).
  • Fit Type: Men & Women and Youth.
  • Other Products on Amazon (US): Tank TopV-Neck, Premium T-Shirt, Long SleeveSweatshirt, Tote Bag and Pullover Hoodie.
  • This design is inspired by the famous mosaic found in Antioch (modern-day Hatay, Turkey).
  • It says "Effrósinos"which means joyful, full of happiness, cheerful.
 
Cave Canem (Beware of dog) - 2nd Version T-Shirt
Price: $21.59
(3 customer reviews)
  • Available on Amazon US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan stores and Redbubble (worldwide).
  • Fit Type: Men & Women.
  • "Cave Canem" means "Beware of the dog" in Latin.
  • This design is inspired by the Roman mosaic at the Casa di Orfeo, Pompeii, Italy.
Minoan Octopus T-Shirt
Price: $21.59
(6 customer reviews)
  • Available on Amazon US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan stores and Redbubble (worldwide).
  • Fit Type: Men & Women and Youth.
  • Other Products on Amazon (US): Tank TopV-NeckPremium T-ShirtLong SleeveSweatshirt.
  • This design is inspired by an ancient Minoan vase. This vase, found at Palaikastro, a wealthy site on the far eastern coast of Crete, is the perfect example of elite Minoan ceramic manufacture.
Owl of Athena T-Shirt
Price: $21.59
(14 customer reviews)
  • Available on Amazon US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan stores and Redbubble (worldwide).
  • Fit Type: Men & Women and Youth.
  • Other Products on Amazon (US): Tank TopV-NeckPremium T-ShirtLong SleeveSweatshirtTote Bag and Pullover Hoodie.
  • Athena; Greek Goddess of Wisdom and Courage, Civilization and Justice, of Artisanal Skill and Strategic Warfare. The patron Goddess of Athens and her virtues were often represented with the Owl, for its ability to pierce through the gloam of night allows it the vision and perception to see well beyond those who are blinded by the darkness around them. In Athena the Athenians saw the virtues they sought to aspire to, and commemorated her by painting the Owl into their pottery and vases, and would even mint the unblinking and ever-vigilant Owl into their coinage.
 

1 Comment

Leave a Comment