The Mexica society, just as others in Mesoamerica, was stratified. We can distinguish two clearly different social groups: the Pipiltin and the Macehualtin. The first, also called nobles, were who kept the administrative, religious, military, and political power. They held the most important positions of the government system and had diverse privileges, among them: not paying tributes to the State, being allowed to consume certain products as cocoa, meat or pulque [Mexican alcoholic drink made from fermented maguey juice]; smelling the flowers; access to the royal households; wearing cotton garments and using footwear. This non-productive social group was maintained by a large group of peasants, artisans and merchants, also called Macehualtin. Unlike the Pipiltin, the Macehualtin had the obligation to pay tribute to the ruler whether in species or communal work; they could not use cotton garments, or footwear; and the consumption of certain products was prohibited.This sculpture represents the image of a Macehualli, perhaps it was used as a standard-bearer, thus the position of the hand as if it was holding a stick. The figure is hieratic and little expressive, which contrasts with other representations of the Mexica sculptures such as the gods and animals that show great movement and expression. Mtro. Hugo García Capistran


  • Title: Macehualli
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: 1325/1521
  • Physical Location: México
  • Physical Dimensions: w320 x h730 x d200 cm (complete)
  • Period: Posclásico Tardío (1325-1521 d.C.)
  • Centro Histórico Ciudad de México: Mexica
  • Type: Sculpture
  • 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: Basalto

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app


Google apps