Borgia Codix, FragmentVisiting the Mexican Museum of Anthropology is a must for any art and history lover. One of the most amazing discoveries that attest to the sophisticated culture of the Aztecs are their Codexes, exhibited at the Museum. In these well organized, beautifully painted and scripted books, the Aztecs detailed their lives, accomplishments, discoveries and beliefs. The Codice Borgia pictured above is a replica of the Codex Borgia, a fragment of this long book. In this fragment we observe a very large and distinctive structure with some activity going around them. This temple is unusual in at least two ways. It is by far the largest and most elaborate building illustrated in the codex. It is identified as The Temple of Heaven by the presence in its roof of three bands of starts and Venus symbols. Atop of this structure sits a flint helmeted deity form who descends a white rope. This building has a pointed conical roof, a form associated with Quetzalcoatl, the wind Deity. Quetzalcoatl appears seated on a throne in the temple, where he is being addressed by Tlahuizcapantecuhtli, the god of Venus as the morning star.
The VillagePresent-day Mexico is dotted with a rich mix of Indian, Spanish, European cultures. Each main city has a variety of arts and crafts that builds on their historical heritage. Artisans in Guerrero specialize in producing Amate paintings. Amate is the original paper used by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans in their writings. This coarse and elegant paper is also a great canvass for painting. Our artisans have learned the art of painting in amate from generation to generation, each painter becoming more proficient as time progresses. In The Village, one can see dozens of peasants in their town celebrations: playing with a piñata, dancing, roasting a pig, watching a bird fight. The many colors of this painting are a unique combination of bright tones against the brown canvass.
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