Crafting the Tenochcan Imperial Identity and Style

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

Recent researches have demonstrated that a large number of objects found in the offerings from the Sacred Precinct of Tenochtitlan are local products and not foreign artifacts obtained by tribute, exchange, war prizes, or looting. Based on their formal characteristics, an important group of them were exclusive to Tenochtitlan and even to its Great Temple in comparison with Tlatelolco, Texcoco, or other sites of Mesoamerica, because identical elements have not been found in other settlements. The papers of this symposium will present the detailed studies of the stylistic attributes and the manufacturing techniques of these objects in different raw materials that support and confirm this assumption for most of the Triple Alliance period (AD 1440-1520). Based on these results, it is even possible to propose the existence of the Tenochcan Technological Imperial Style to reinforces their identity since Moctezuma I until Moctezuma II. The high standardization observed in the morphology, iconography, and technology of these pieces, and its restricted distribution in the offerings of the main ceremonies at the heart of the Empire, suggest that its manufacturing took place in a dependent context, probably even in the palace of the Tenochcan rulers.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-12 of 12)

  • Documents (12)

    DOCUMENT Citation Only Norma Valentin.

    The use of animal fur in ancient Mesoamerica is well known due to the historical records, sculpture and painting. Archaeologically, it has been inferred by some evidence, as the presence and absence of certain animal bones and the cultural traces they present (abrasions, cuts and perforations, for example). In the offerings of the Sacred Precinct of Tenochtitlan, Mexico, there has been found a large number of skeletal remains of four classes of vertebrates (fishes, reptiles, birds and mammals)...

  • Clothing for the mexica gods: shell garments from the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Maria De Lourdes Gallardo.

    El presente trabajo aborda el estudio integral de los restos de prendas rituales elaboradas con textiles y elementos laminares de conchas nacaradas, que se depositaron en cuatro ofrendas del sitio arqueológico del Templo Mayor. A pesar del mal estado de conservación que actualmente se observa en la mayor parte de estos objetos, fue posible identificar cuatro prendas rituales, a través de una investigación que observa varios aspectos relevantes y complementarios. Así, el estudio comprende: la...

  • Copal Offering Objects: Manufactured in Tenochtitlan (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Naoli Victoria Lona.

    In our days, is a general known the amazing offering ritual made by the mexica people in the late Posclassic period. The studies show a high diversity of organic and inorganic material, some local, some brought from foreign lands, like the resin of copal case, as was verified by historical documents and ethnographic studies, so, the copal resin was imported as crude feedstock. The resin was brought to Tenochtitlan where it was transformed into different objects like bars, spheres,...

  • Copper bells from the Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan - imports or local production? (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Niklas Schulze.

    The studies of the offerings of the Templo Mayor of the late postclassic Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan have shown that these concentrate objects of many different materials, styles and origins. The question of how these objects reached the offerings has probably more than one answer, reflecting the complexity of the postclassic economic system. However, recent research has shown that several artifact groups that were thought to be imports were probably produced in strictly regulated workshops...

    DOCUMENT Citation Only Adrian Velazquez.

    Recent investigations about the Tenochca objects have shown that the mexica produced many of the pieces that they deposited inside of the offerings they buried in their Great Temple and its surrounding buildings. It seems that it was during the reigned of Axayacatl (1469-1481 A.D.) that the mexica decided to create their own imperial style not only in terms of forms and decorations but also in the technological aspect. In the present paper it is presented new data that supports this hypothesis...

  • Fabricating Political Constituencies, Artistic Production at the Templo Mayor (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Eulogio Guzmán.

    The excavation of the Templo Mayor yielded a plethora of objects that testify to the supreme ideological importance this edifice held for the Mexica confederacy. While the offerings unearthed within the foundations of this structure comprised a variety of portable objects placed in intimate settings, larger sculptures seem to have articulated more public iconographic programs. My analysis of both portable and monumental sculptures shows these works emphasized the bricolage of incorporated and...

    DOCUMENT Citation Only Emiliano Melgar.

    After the defeat of Azcapotzalco in AD 1428, the rulers of Tenochtitlan employed different strategies to recreate and reinforce their identity during the Triple Alliance. One of them was the regional request of master artisans, called tolteca, for working at the Aztec capital. Some of these craftsmen and their workshops were located inside the palaces of the tlatoque. Among them were the jewelers that crafted sacred objects for the gods and prestige goods for the elites. The technological...

  • A new classification of masks from Guerrero discovered in the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Diego Jimenez. Salvador Ruíz-Correa.

    This paper focuses on a new kind of typological analysis based on a quantitative procedure called Spectral Clustering. This technique uses Graph Theory to analyse the eigenstructure of an affinity matrix in order to partition data points into disjoint clusters. The original algorithms were developed a decade ago by mathematicians and machine learning professionals. To the best of our knowledge, this technique has not been applied before in archaeology despite its proven performance in...

  • Origins of the Templo Mayor Skull Masks (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Heather Edgar. Corey Ragsdale.

    The offerings of human remains made at the Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlán include decapitated skulls, some of them reused as masks or headdresses. It is generally accepted that the sacrificial offerings of the Templo Mayor were obtained through warfare. To test this, we used bioarchaeological analyses to determine where the skull masks came from geographically, and whether the skull masks meet the biological profile of elite warriors. We recorded sex, age, and indicators of disease and nutritional...

  • Spheres of Production of the Lapidary Objects at the Sacred Precinct of Tenochtitlan: The Legitimacy and Extent of the Power of the Aztec Empire (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Reyna Solis.

    In the Great Temple and the surrounding structures at the Sacred Precinct of Mexico Tenochtitlan, the archaeologists recovered thousands of lapidary objects devoted to the religious cult of the Mexica society. Great quantities of them were considered foreign productions or relics related with certain Mesoamerican styles and traditions. In this research we will show that the technological analysis, using Experimental Archaeology and the characterization of the manufacturing traces with SEM,...

  • The Technology of Aztec Featherworking: Glyphic Clues in the Florentine Codex (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Frances Berdan.

    Featherworking was among the finest of the luxury industries in the Aztec world. The craft employed complicated techniques and some expensive materials, but a relatively straightforward and inexpensive toolkit. Book 9 of the Florentine Codex features a detailed account of this featherworking technology. Forty-one illustrations accompany the Nahuatl textual account, and 27 phonetic glyphs (as single elements or in structured combinations) are embedded in these illustrations. Renewed...


    Las últimas investigaciones acerca de diversos materiales en la esfera de producción de Tenochtitlan, apuntan hacia la presencia y vínculos existentes entre la elaboración de objetos y el principal templo mexica. No solo se trata de materiales como concha, cobre, turquesa y otros más, sino que también se ha podido ver en las ofrendas del Templo Mayor y adoratorios aledaños la presencia de una fauna abundante que, al parecer, procedía del zoológico del palacio real. Todo lo anterior revela la...