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MEXICO.

tion, have been singularly apathetic with regard to the vestiges of the ancient people upon whose seat of empire they had established themselves by the right of conquest. For two entire centuries the same insane and bigoted spirit of wanton destruction, which the Spanish historians show to have influenced the conquerors, and to have caused the annihilation of much that was curious and valuable, seems to have possessed their descendants to a very late epoch, if not to the present day.

There is ample proof of this, in a pamphlet[1] now becoming rare, published by De Gama, a Spanish savant, in 1792, to give a description of the two most remarkable of the Toltec antiquities, the Goddess of War, and the Sacrificial Stone, both of which were discovered accidentally two years previous.

The goddess Teoyamiqui, or Cohuatlicue,[2] as De Gama calls her, is a colossal figure about nine feet high, hewn out of a solid block of basalt. The breadth is about five feet, and it is three feet in thickness. It is sculptured on all sides, and even underneath the feet, having evidently been suspended at a height from the ground, by two projections at the sides. The whole configuration is the most hideous and deformed that the fancy can paint, being a mass of serpents of all sizes, with claws and tusks of ravenous beasts ornamented with human hearts and sculls.

The Stone of Sacrifices is a cylindrical mass of porphyry, of twenty-five feet in circumference, covered both on the surface and sides with sculpture in relief. It is strongly urged that this was not the altar implied by the popular name, but one of the stones termed temalacatl, on which gladiatorial combats between prisoners of rank and the Mexican warriors took place on

  1. ↑ Descripcion y cronologica de los piedras con ocasion del nuevo, empedrado que se esta formendo en la plaza principal de Mejico se hallaron en alla. Ano de 1790, &c.β€”por Don Antonio de Leon y Gama.
  2. ↑ Two different personages, by-the-by. Teoyamiqui was the wife of Huitzipoctli, the god of war; while Cohuatlicue was the goddess of flowers.β€”Humboldt's Researches, vol, i., p. 266.