The Aztecs, People of the Sun

Exploring a fascinating civilization
The Aztecs, produced by Pointe-à-Callière in collaboration with the Mexican National Council for Culture and the Arts – National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), showcases some 265 items from 16 Mexican museums.  The tremendously varied objects are both spectacular and moving. Masks and statues, gold jewellery, figurines of women, children and animals, stamps for creating patterns on fabric and skin, sculptures and objects relating to the sacrifices required to keep the Sun on its daily journey, chests, boxes for offerings, vases and ceramics, all reflect the mysteries surrounding this people.

Exhibition themes
The exhibition focuses on the founding of Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire, their daily lives, the Templo Mayor, and of course the question of human sacrifices and the two Aztec calendars. It looks at many themes in their rich history: the Aztecs’ migration, guided by their god Huitzilopochtli, and the founding of Tenochtitlan; the remarkable urban planning and land use development in this “Venice of Mexico”; the Aztec art of war and the tribute paid by conquered peoples, as well as their agricultural techniques and the chinampas, the ingenious floating gardens that made the city self-sufficient. It also looks at the organization of Aztec society, with its different classes, a fascinating subject that addresses the role of women, education and the administration of justice. Aztec writing and the famous codices, manuscripts made up of glyphs or pictograms illustrating the spoken language, are examined in depth. Religion, an essential and omnipresent part of Aztec society, along with their various deities and rituals, are described. And lastly, the exhibition closes with a description of the Spanish conquest and the fall of the Aztec Empire, and the legacy of the Aztecs today.

The Aztec heritage

Today the Aztec civilization is considered one of the most remarkable in human history. Many archaeological digs and different museums celebrate their exceptional contribution to world heritage. Mexico City, the country’s capital and largest metropolis, was built atop the ruins of the superb city of Tenochtitlan. Today it is home to some 22 million people. The Aztec language, Nahuatl, is still spoken by about 1.6 million Nahuas.

For ticket prices and exhibit hours: or 514-872-9150
Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal’s Museum of Archaeology and History
350 Place Royale, Corner of de la Commune, Old Montreal (Quebec) H2Y 3Y5

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