city at night

city at night

Monday, May 8, 2023

The Museum of the New Fire

After blogger Scott and I had visited the archaeological site on top of the "Cerro de la Estrella", we descended the hill and visited the small museum which deals with the New Fire Ceremony of the Aztecs.


 As I mentioned in the previous post, the Aztecs believed that at the end of every 52-year cycle, there was the danger that the sun would die.  Priests would go to the top of the "cerro", and, when the movement of the stars convinced them that the world was not coming to an end, they would light a fire to announce the good news to inhabitants of the valley below.  This mural at the entrance to the museum depicts that ceremony.


The museum consists of a large hall.  On the ceiling of is a representation of the 52 cycle.  The Aztecs, in addition to the calendar of 365 days, also had a ritual calendar of 260 days.  Every 52 years, those two calendars would coincide.



This model shows how the "Cerro de la Estrella"... Mountain of the Star... once rose along the shore of Lake Texcoco which used to cover a large part of the Valley of Mexico.  The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan was built on an island in the middle of that lake.  


After the lighting of the New Fire atop the hill, the priests would then carry torches to light the fires of the all the temples in the valley below.  First, they would relight the fire of the Templo Mayor (Main Temple) of Tenochtitlan.

This is shown in a replica of a drawing from a codex or Aztec manuscript and also in a model.





The slopes of the "Cerro de la Estrella" have been occupied by humans long before the Aztecs came into the valley.  Several cases hold objects that have been found on the hill.





I can now add another to my list of museums that I have visited in Mexico City.  Although small, it was an interesting museum.

4 comments:

  1. Fascinating! Thanks for sharing

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  2. Have you kept a list of all the museums you've visited? It seems you find a new one on each of your visits.

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    1. No, I haven't kept track. The last figure I heard was that there are 176 museums in the city. There are plenty more to visit, although not all of them are of interest to me.

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