Unknown: The Aztec Calendar Stone (1479)
(Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City, Mexico)
This is an object that most people are familiar with, the Aztec Calendar Stone. This
huge stone is almost 4 meters in diameter, 1 meter thick and weighs about 24 tons.
The disc is very complex so i'll try to explain it. The disc is composed of several rings:
- In the center-ring there are the 5 suns.
According to the creation myths of the Aztec this world was preceded by 4 other
worlds. These earlier worlds and their inhabitants had been created, then destroyed
by the catastrophic action of the gods.
The First sun is top right square called 4 Jaguar. Created by the Aztec god
Tezcatlipoca, this sun shone on the sky during an epoch when the Earth was ruled by
giants. It was buried by the collapse of the sky, and, under the cover of the night,
jaguars devoured all the people.
The second sun is top left square called 4 Wind. This world was created by the god
Quetzalcoatl. this world was destroyed by hurricanes. The people of this world were turned into mokeys by the gods to save them from destruction.
The third sun is bottom left square called 4 Rain. This world was created by the god
Tláloc. This world was destroyed by a rain of fire. The people of this world were turned into birds by the gods to save them from destruction.
The fourth world is bottom right square and is called 4 Water. This world was
detryed by a flood, The people of this world were turned into fish by the gods to save them from destruction.
The present sun is in the center and is called 4-Earthquake or movement. Within the
symbol of the fith sun is an image of Tonatiuh, the Aztec sun god. Tonatiuh has a human heart in his left and right claw. A sacrificial knife forms his tongue. these 2 things represent the need for sacrifices to allow the sun to continue moving across the sky.
Around the symbols of the 5 suns there are three additional dates: 1 Flint, 1 Rain,
and 7 Monkey. These 4 dates represent the North, south, East and West.
- The second ring on the calendar stone is composed of the 20 Day signs of the
tonalpohualli, the sacred 260-day calendar. The people of Meso-America named each
day with a combination of a number from 1 to 13, and one of the twenty day signs so
you would get the day 1-house, 3 lizard etc.
The third ring, the ring before the outermost, is the ring of the fifth sun. The large V-signs are solar rays, the smaller V-signs are sings of the North, East, South and West.
The outermost ring consists of 2 Xiuhcoatls, fire serpents. At the top the 2 tails come
together with a symbol of the calendrical name 13-Reed. This date corresponds to the
year 3113 BCE, the beginning of the current sun 4-Movement. At the bottom, a head
emerges from the mounth of each serpent. From the left emerges Tezcatlipoca (the
evening start). From the right emerges Quetzalcoatl, the morning star.
Each serpent consists of 13-years bundels tied 4 times. This is a represention of
the so-called 104-year cycle, the Huehuetiliztli. This 104-year cycle are two 52-year cycles. In the first each 52-year cycle Venus starts on the Eastern horizon as the Morning star (Quetzalcoatl) and ends with Venus as the Evenning star on the Western horizon. In the second 52-year cycle, Venus starts as the evening star (Tezcatlipoca) on the horizon opposite its orginal starting position and ends with Venus as the Morning star on the Eastern horizon.
The creation-date of this stone is 1479.