Didem Doğan

The Museum of Anthropology

The distinguishing characteristic of human beings is their capacity to think about themselves called “self-reflexivity”…Mexico is one of the most interesting countries with its ancient cultures, its history of colonization and the transformation it underwent after the revolution. One needs to come back here several times and focus on another aspect of this elaborate history. On my first day in Mexico, I am walking into a wonderful and three-dimensional encyclopedic world available here. The anthropology Museum in the capitol city Mexico City is the best answer to the question of how to fit a history of thousands of years into place. It is too large and too rich for you to tour in one day. Each hall is dedicated to a historical period: the Aztec, the Mayan, the Toltec, the group of people in the south and the west, divided into geographical categories, and the archeological findings from each period. The most interesting among them is the gigantic Aztec calendar shaped like a sun: the Aztec Sunstone is the most famous piece of Aztec sculpture. In the center of the stone is the God of Sun, Tonatiuh, as if standing on the center of a moving disk, with a sacrificial blade for a tongue, which represents the necessity of sacrifice for the continuity of the sun’s movements in the sky. There are four eras surrounding the central deity, the eras of jaguar, wind, rain, and water: they are the eras in which the world ended and was somehow re-created. Today it is still being debated whether this sunstone was an Aztec calendar or a sacrificial tool used in religious rituals.