Few months after the destruction of Tenochtitlan, the works for rebuilding the new great city began, and this task, which was then described as “the seventh plague”, fundamentally fell on the same natives that saw its fall. The construction stones that were used came mainly from the destruction of temples and native palaces, and the foundations were reinforced with complete or demolished idols. With time, the natives developed some knacks for damaging as little as possible the sacred images that had to be buried or transformed. This was the case of this column base, for which was chosen a block with the relief of the deity of the earth, Tlaltecuhtli, that was generally carved at the bottom part of the sculptures so the image rested directly on the surface of the land. In this way, they protected the deity from the destruction, with the advantage of knowing that it would remain in the position that commonly kept as a monument. This piece was found during an excavation at the southwestern corner of the Main Square and belonged to a building of the Augustinian order of the Colonial period, located at what nowadays occupies Hotel of Mexico City. It is a splendid relief of Tlaltecuhtli represented as a fantastic being with a human body seen from behind, in the typical position adopted by the natives who were going to give birth, the head up and the characteristic features that define this deity: partially fleshless face showing the tongue, tangled hair, claws instead of hands and feet, figureheads on the joints, a belt decorated with a skull and a short skirt named citlalcueitl (“skirt of stars”), characteristic attire of a group of goddesses known as tzitzimime. Arqlga. Bertina Olmedo Vera


  • Title: Base de columna
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: 1250/1500
  • Physical Location: México
  • Physical Dimensions: w750 x h840 x d760 cm (complete)
  • Period: Posclásico Tardío (1250-1521 d.C.)
  • Ciudad de México: Mexica
  • Type: Architectonic Element
  • Rights: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia., INAH. Proyecto de Digitalización de las Colecciones Arqueológicas del Museo Nacional de Antropología. CONACULTA-CANON-MNA.
  • External Link: http://www.mna.inah.gob.mx
  • Medium: Andesita

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