February 21, 2021
Giant Aztec Eagle Bas Relief Uncovered in Mexico City
INAH has uncovered a giant bas relief of the Aztec Golden Eagle in downtown Mexico City. The carved slab was part of a floor built during Motecuhzoma Ilhuicamina’s reign 1440 and 1469 CE. The art is part of the Templo Mayor complex, which includes the image of a raptor associated with Huitzilopochtli”s mythical life cycle and Tlaloc representing the water cycle and the regeneration of maize. The floor was progressively created between 1486-1502.
Researchers are correlating the floor with Aztec codices. In Codex Borgia, a golden eagle stands on a mesquite, that was believed to grow from a flayed skin deity with knife-like feline feathers that look like human sacrifice knives. The bird of prey is related to war and sacrifice and is the sun’s shapeshifting spirit-related to Huitzilopochtli.
At the site of the Templo Mayor is the legendary place where the Aztecs saw the eagle sitting on a cactus and where they moved to own man island which became their capital, Tenochtitlan. And this Eagle represents that founding story.
INAH will lift the eagle to explore below and then replace it.