Sunday, 9 February 2014

Conquesting and Glorying Aztecs

Before it disappeared, me and a simian went to the Aztec exhibit at Te Papa. As you would expect, there was a fair range of statuary and cultural items on display. And yes, there were a few references to death.

However, there were also lots of other gods talked about, and plenty of common every day activities. They had their sport, their market place, their schooling. Fine, they did things differently, but there was a lot that was the same as well.

Frankly, I think we're more obsessed with their death obsession than they were! Certainly I can point to an easily identified section of our own culture that's obsessed with the afterlife and what happens to the soul afterwards.

Most of my Aztec knowledge (such as it is) involve what I know from reading books and watching TV shows that appropriate Aztec mythology. And there's a lot there. Yes, including interesting ideas about some of their death myths. (There was one in particular about women who lose children coming back from the dead... but I can't find it online.)

I think the main, very basic point, I took away was... despite how we always thing of the Aztecs as living a long time in the past, it was only five to seven hundred years ago. The 1500s weren't that long ago when we think about the time lines of other countries. History can be a lot closer than you think...



Jet Simian said...

yeah, as you know I was pretty taken back by it myself! And of course Chrisitanity is a religion with death (and rebirth) at its centre - interesting to see how finally the motifs of sacrifice were adopted into the 'newer' religion which also concerns... sacrifice as a core tenet.

I hadn't thought about the small distance of time - there you go!

Jamas Enright said...

I kept seeing the date '1500s' and was thinking "was that when they were recovered? It can't be when it actually flourished..."