Mictlantecuhtli clay figure exhibited in South Korea: The DONG-A ILBO


A god overseeing the underworld raises his hands and makes a comical grimace as if to surprise the dead. He is 176 centimeters tall and weighs 128 kilograms, but his face with a wide smile looks more like a child’s than scary. This is a clay figure of Mictlantecuhtli, a god of Aztec culture, who flourished on the central plateau of Mexico from the 13th to 16th centuries. The Aztecs believed that humans were created from the bones of a giant from the underworld and that there were lives because of the dead.

There are currently only two clay figurines from Mictlantecuhtli left in Mexico and one of them will be on display at the National Museum of Korea on Tuesday for its special exhibition called “Aztecs”. The exhibition to be held on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Mexico will feature 208 pieces from the collections of 11 foreign museums, including the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico and the Linden Museum in Germany. . The Aztecs, Mayans and Incas are considered the three main civilizations of Central America.

The exhibition consisting of five parts will present the life of the Aztecs before the Spanish conquerors invaded civilization in 1521. The first part presents a 3D sculpture recreating an Aztec masterpiece, “Sunstone”. The Sunstone is a large circular stone measuring 358 centimeters in diameter and 98 centimeters in thickness and weighing 24,590 kilograms. It was created under the order of the Aztec ruler Moctezuma II at the beginning of the 16th century. A sacrificial offering to protect the Sun is projected onto the 3D sculpture. In the second part of the exhibition, sculptures of native gods, such as the corn goddess Xilonen, are presented.

From part 3 to part 5, the greatest city of the Aztecs Tenochtitlan is the main theme. A large stone eagle’s head is depicted against painting from Tenochtitlan in the 14th and 16th centuries. Tenochtitlan, which was four times larger than Yeouido, had a population of 200,000 people who spoke over 40 languages. The stone eagle head was a sculpture that decorated the outer wall of a temple in the center of the city, symbolizing the sun in Aztec culture.

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