Friday, December 30, 2016

The House of the Eagles, Mexico City

The House of the Eagles, located in Templo Mayor, was one of the most sacred places in the Mexico City region. It was here that the Mexica elite held their ceremonies, including meditation, prayer, penitence, and the rendering of offerings. The building was raised, then amplified three times between 1430 and 1500 AD. The House of the Eagles was destroyed during the Conquest and was buried beneath the Church of Santiago Apostol (Apostle James).

The banquettes built into the lower part of the walls in this space are made of blocks of stone displaying beautiful carved bas-reliefs. They are painted in bright colours against a red background. The scene portrayed on the banquettes is that of a procession of armed warriors converging in a zacatapayolli, a ball of dried moss or grass used to hold the bloody spines or spikes used in self-sacrifice.

Ritual activity occurred near the altars, braziers and sculptures. The chemical analysis of the floors showed residues of animal and vegetable products, pulque and blood. Furthermore, ceramic sculptures were recovered in this building during recent excavations, representing God Mictlantecutli, the God of Death, the Lord of the Underworld, where the souls of those who died a natural death or old age go. 

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