Moctezuma was the ninth Aztec emperor of Mexico, famous for his confrontation with the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.
Moctezuma II by Daniel del Valle from the Museo Nacional De Arte, Mexico.
Moctezuma II visiting the tombs of his ancestors (Moctezuma in Chapultepec), 1895. Faced with premonitions and signs about the arrival of the Spanish and the near end of his reign, Moctezuma had his portrait and that of all his ancestors sculpted on a rock in Chapultepec.
Daniel Del Valle’s oil painting portrays the moment when the monarch and his entourage burst into tears when contemplating the sculptures.
A Chimalli or pre-Hispanic shield made of feathers from a great variety of birds and feline skin.
It was made in the specialized workshops of the empire of Moctezuma II and sent by Hernán Cortés to Carlos V before 1524. A little over three centuries later, in 1865, Maximiliano de Habsburgo arranged for his return to Mexico to become part of the Museum’s collections. Imperial (later National Museum); in 1866 the shield arrived in Mexico from Austria. Since 1944, this chimalli with feathers and feline fur has been a treasure of the Castle of Chapultepec. It should be noted that this pre-Hispanic shield is the only one of its kind that is preserved in Mexico and one of the four existing ones known in the world.
Stay of the feathered shields in the Old Continent.
In 1522 Hernán Cortés sent the bishop of Palencia, Spain, three shields. One of them with the red field and a monster of gold and feathers.
Between 1523 and 1524, Carlos V received and distributed in different cuts, plumages and shields that showed the wealth of the conquered territories: to his brother Fernando I of Austria he awarded eleven objects. Eighty relics were given to his aunt, Archduchess Margaret, and included shields. A “made with the skin of an animal with spots” stands out. This collection was registered in the Palace of Mechelen in Flanders.
Around 1569, two rodelas with fretwork designs could have reached the court of Stuttgart, Germany. Until the 19th century, news of the four rodelas that are preserved today were once again described in the inventories of castles in Austria and Germany.
Adrian Unzueta, Sacrifice of Spaniards by Mexica, oil on canvas, 1898.
Clay patterned with stucco
Mexica culture. Late Postclassic. (1325-1521)
In his tiahuitztli they stand out a helmet of a real eagle of great proportions with the open beak from which the youthful face of the warrior emerges; the feathered suit with outstretched wings and the sharp claws of the raptor.
Eagles and jaguars were protectors of the prestigious cuauhtl-ocelotl warriors associated with the cult of the Sun. This clay character represents the dead warrior on the battlefield that accompanied the Sun on its way to the zenith; hence its association with daytime warfare.
The typical mexica warrior costume was tied at the back, covering arms and legs; sometimes they were feathered or helmeted. Unfortunately no ancient examples have been preserved.
The long pole is a replica of a macuahuitl in carved and lithic wood, oak, obsidian and tree resin. It is a Mexica shock weapon. Oak wood stick with more than 80 centimeters long to which obsidian blades with huizache or mesquite resins were added.
Moctezuma receives the messengers
This image presented corresponds to the work “Moctezuma receives the messengers”, (1893). In this painting, the emissary of the Mexica tells Moctezuma about the foreigners who have begun to advance towards Tenochtitlan. Moctezuma is accompanied by nobles and warriors who are attentive to the message.
Adrián Unzueta was a Mexican painter born in 1865, and of whose biography there is little information. It is known that he entered the Academy of San Carlos around 1880, where he was a student of important teachers such as Juan Urruchi, José María Velasco and Santiago Rebull. Later, in 1897, he became a professor at the same Academy.
In general, his work enjoys strict academic rigor in anatomy and composition, while his subject matter highlights the iconography and passages of the pre-Columbian history of Mexico.
The Tro-Cortesiano Codex
The Tro-Cortesiano Codex or Madrid Codex is a Mayan codex. It is considered the most important book in the Museum of America in Madrid, and one of the most outstanding pieces in the entire collection, although due to conservation needs what is exposed to the public is a facsimile and the original remains stored in the museum’s vault. .
It is one of the only four pre-Hispanic Mayan codices that are preserved, along with the Dresden Codex (State Library of Saxony and the Dresden University, Dresden), the Paris Codex or Peresian Codex (National Library of France, Paris ) and the Grolier Codex, or Saenz Codex, (National Library of Anthropology and History, Mexico City), whose authenticity was long disputed, 1 although an in-depth study published in 2016 by a team from Brown University (United States Unidos) assured that it is not only authentic, but the oldest of those preserved.
Second Treatise on Error.
by Miguel Carrillo Lara, 2003
The fusion of two cultures. Jorge González Camarena, 1963.
(The painter is also brother to Guillermo González Camarena who had invented the color TV, his patent also registered in the US here.)
In the dramatic scene conceived by the artist, the conqueror and his horse confront the indigenous warrior. Gonzalez Camarena represents some characteristics of the military conquita, such as violent death. However, these were not the only facets of the confrontation of 1519-1521 in which the Mexica were defeated not only by the Spanish, but also by indigenous peoples.
I hope you have enjoyed this post. As a side-note I did’t travel this whole year as many have not. I rarely post photographs from Mexico or its history, now it is a good time. There are so many stories to tell but I rarely do because I think I would be biased. Our culture has a long history way back and many customs have stayed with us, as strange as it seems.
If you would like to know something in particular or general, write a comment and I’ll get back to you!
*All photographs taken by me.