The Aztec Cosmos: Tomás Filsinger 1,000-piece Jigsaw Puzzle
Excerpt from the Booklet
In the thirteenth century, the Aztec, or Mexica, Indians migrated south to the Valley of Mexico from their original home on a lake island they called Aztlán, the word from which their popular name is derived. A primitive nomadic people, they none-theless conquered the last of the autonomous nations of the Valley of Mexico and absorbed into their own culture much of the ritual, religion, mythology, and lore of the great civilizations that had gone before. They settled on a swampy island in Lake Texcoco and erected their capital city of Tenochtitlán, named after their priest and leader Tenoch. There they raised a giant pyramid on which stood twin temples: one honoring Huitzilopochtli (Hummingbird Wizard), their founding god and the god of war, symbolizing powerful natural forces; and the other honoring Tláloc, the ancient rain god. Close by was the round temple of Quetzalcóatl (Feathered Serpent), bringer of the arts of civilization. Quetzalcóatl was an ancient god who had been worshipped for centuries in Mesoamerica.
The Aztec empire flourished for two centuries before Hernán Cortes conquered Mesoamerica for the Spanish in 1521, destroying Tenochtitlán and building upon its ruins what is today Mexico City.
On December 17, 1790, workers excavating a street alongside Mexico City’s main plaza found a huge twenty-six-ton monolith buried facedown near what was once the ceremonial center of Tenochtitlán. The stone, carved with symbols depicting the Aztec universe, calendar, history, and lore, was brought out and attached to one of the towers of the plaza’s cathedral, where it remained until 1885. It was then moved first to the city museum and then to the National Museum of Anthropology in Chapultepec Park, where it stands today as the centerpiece of Aztec culture.