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On April 21 & 22nd, CSULA had a Meso-American symposium in homage to Eduardo Matos Moctezuma. It has been over 2 years since the previous event.

Though I did not attend Friday, I was there on Saturday. Here is a summary on that day:

The Offering of Life: Human and Animal Sacrifice at the Main Plaza of the Sacred Precinct, Tenochtitltlan

Ximena Chavez had an interesting presentation. You can tell she practiced to get what she needed to bring across in 30 minutes.

Her presentation was showing evidence of sacrifice animal and human along with doing a breakdown of sacrifice especially in the great temple in Tenochtitlan. In Aztec image depiction, it’s typical to show human sacrifice. Animal depictions are rare. Explaining that it was a Religion act. At times having to figure it was Funeral vs sacrifice.She brought that sacrifice was over exaggerated though distinguished the different types for example Heart extraction and Arrow shooting Both for human and animals. Many were dead before being buried.

The Weapon of Huizilopochtli: The Symbolism of the Xiuhcoatl in Ancient Mexico

Karl Taube was next in the presentation, but this was interesting, but he jumped too much into conclusions.He claimed the Xiuhcoatl was not serpent, but is actually bug; Perhaps caterpillar (I personally think it's actually a firefly. Friends with me thought otherwise).

He shown examples of Xiuhcoatl with Star studded snout with stars, Rudimentary wings and a Segmented body.Xiuhcoatl is a Star shooter in a form as a serpent, he claimed it was an Atlatl.He then shown the different depictions:

  • Coyoxiuque 5 shows xiuhcoatl

  • Famous xiuhcoatl stone is a sacrifice stone

  • Descending serpent to the underworld

  • Yahui  in codex nuttall, Represent a shooting star

Its origin is around 900-1250 early preclassic. It started in tula on the Back of shield in giant Toltec figurine statues. He tried to convince the audience with other things, but one was a cave and another was a jaguar.

The Codex Mendoza and the Rubber Balls of Tochtepec

Manuel Aguilar-Moreno has a presentation on something we least think about. It was about the Tochtepec and them building the balls. Codex Mendoza shows a simple picture of balls of tribute. Since they did tribute to Tenochtitlan, they spent much of their time just making balls.

In present time, the only players are the Yoreme (Mayo): 30 only play ulama in sinaloa. Since it was hard to make rubber balls for the game, it was slowly becoming a dying game. Archaeologist helped make an affordable ball for the game to continue. Since tourist want to see the ball, many Yoreme were taken to the Yucatan. They intermarried with the Maya and many of them are playing the game.

The Flaying of Trees and the Destiny of Humans: The Meaning of Paper in the Aztec World

Barbara Mundy went with amate paper from basic info to ideas that I didn’t think about.

Amatl is paper made of Fig, maguey and/or aloe plant.Otomi made paper figures. That the figurines depicted were not spirits but Totoitzin.

Festival Ochpaniztli paper and human skin costume describing the removing of bark of a tree was similar to removing the skin. Xipehua meaning bark removing. Teixiptla skin removing.

One thing she did point out is you must separate western thought to understand indigenous style.

Drawing concept that align with pyramid of the sun and the sun equals time. Time changes adding biblical stories into Mesoamerican concept.

Even though the older stuff was destroyed, new concepts were added into the old structure.

Mentiras y Verdades. Sobre La Verdad del Mito

Presented by Alfredo Lopez Austin. What made this one stand out was from the rest was it didn’t relate to pre-columbian history and it was entirely in Spanish. It was based on the articles written by Matos which debunk stories.He mentioned the types of myths:

  • Myths

  • Fables

  • False concepts

  • Lies

  • Half true based on truth

While someone was telling him his time was up, he continued talking, ignoring the person’s flailing arms.

Breaking through Mexico’s Past: Digging the Aztecs with Eduardo Matos Moctezuma

David Carrasco was sick but sent a video. Even though the footage was filmed in Harvard, audio was low, but it was about encountering Eduardo and working together.

Afterwards, they had the opening of the book exhibit. It was an exhibit of many copies of codices.

It was nice to see all the books, but sadly, there was no way to touch them and explore their many pages.

Here is some footage of what was happening before the event on that Saturday. It's in 360 and you can see all angles of the video.