Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/327

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A DAY IN THE MUSEUMS.

high rank. The supreme being was Teotl; but their greatest god represented by earthly symbol was Tezcatlipoca, or "the Shining Mirror," while Ometeuctli and Omecihuatl were respectively god and goddess only a little less powerful than the second. The god of storms and master of paradise was one Tlaloc, whose residence on earth was the volcano Popocatapetl.

TLM D327 Vase in the museum.jpgVASE IN THE MUSEUM.

Of the tepitoton, or little gods, the Mexican penates, there were a vast number in olden times, for each noble was entitled to six in his house at once, and of these Bishop Zumárraga destroyed, it is said, at least twenty thousand.

So many and so various are the objects collected here, that it must have taken centuries of toil and the slow development of inventive genius to produce them. We can well believe the statement of an English antiquarian collecting in Mexican fields, that he often made trial whether it were possible to stand still in any spot where there was no relic of Old Mexico within sight, and found he could not. Carved objects are numerous, as shown by the masks, the teponaztli, or Mexican drum, and the so-called "sacrificial collars." These latter reminded me of some I had seen in Porto Rico, of which the Smithsonian Institution has the only complete series, and which are described and figured in the Reports of the Institution by Professor Mason. There seems to be the same doubt as to the use of these strange stones as hangs over those "collars" from Porto Rico. A teacher in the Jesuit college at San Juan,