STAINED GLASS: Aztec Calendar


       This project is a representation of the Aztec calendar, based on the 16th Century Aztec Sun Stone, which was discovered in 1790 and resides in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, Mexico.


       The calendar represents the year, but also what I understand to be the fifth age. The face in the middle is likely Tonatiuh, the sun god. The two toothy monsters on either side of him are his hands. His tongue represents an anthropomorphic flint knife (representing the need to sacrifice to the god). The flint-tongue’s face is upside down and has an eye and teeth. The four boxes around Tonatiuh's face are the four previous ages, represented by the gods/goddess of those ages and how mankind was wiped out in each of those ages. This, the fifth age, is predicted to end by an earthquake. The twenty boxes of the outer ring are the days. Each day has an image and name and a set of associations, which seems to me very similar to western astrological signs.

       I was drawn to the intricacy of this breathtakingly complex image and by my curiosity to decode it.  The style and sheer number of images and elements truly overwhelmed my ability to "read" what I was seeing when I first beheld it.  This made it a perfect project for my mission statement to demystify complicated narratives.  It is a calendar, but because it represents the gods of previous and the current age, I would argue that this image does tell a story.