Cincalco: Origin and Kingship in Mexica Cosmology

Author(s): Claudia Camacho-Trejo

Year: 2016


In prehispanic times, caves signified the place of origin, the underworld, or where Tlacamecayotl kingship was claimed. Cincalco, a cave located on Chapoltepēc Mountain, was first recorded in the 16th century Historia Toltec-Chichimeca (1550-1560) as being appropriated during 1156 or 1168 after the fall of Tollan. Toltec legend tells that the last king of Tollan, Huemac (Big Hand), committed suicide at the cave after failing to receive help from the gods. At the approach of the Spanish, Moctezuma Xocoyotzin was supposed to have tried to join Huemac in the cave but was denied access by the latter. The Mexicas may have used Cincalco to associate themselves with the Toltecs. The relation between Mexicas and Cincalco started with Moctezuma I, when the first portraits of the Mexica tlatoani was carved at the foot of the mountain. This are described by Diego Duran in his Historia de las Indias de Nueva España y Islas de Tierra Firme (1581). This paper reports on the cave and its importance to Mexica cosmology

Cite this Record

Cincalco: Origin and Kingship in Mexica Cosmology. Claudia Camacho-Trejo. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403339)


Cave Cosmology Mexica