Hill of the grasshoppers.
An emperor on a throne sits before the hill which is represented with a winding road and a spring. Military aspects include soldiers with war clubs and shields from three armies, feathered headdresses, and jaguar skin. Huitziláihuitl (reigned 1395-1417), the Aztec emperor recognizable by his symbol of the hummingbird with white feathers, sits on his throne at right (image may not be visible in mobile browsers).
Above him are four figures who represent the four primitive tribes of the Mexica. Three armies converge on the Mexica to annihilate them, the Tepanec of Azcapotzalco, the Chalco (who captured and killed Huitziláihuitl), and the Xochimilca. The chief of one army wears the jaguar skin of a warrior caste and carries a shield with the symbol of the Mitla (center of Zapotec ceremonies).
The designs on his sandals are associated with the god Quetzalcoatl and with his Toltec ancestors.
Huitzilihuitl was the second tlatoani of Tenochtitlan. He founded the Royal Council or Tlatocan and established four permanent electors to advise the new king, in his inexperience, at the beginning of each reign. During his reign, the weaving industry grew. It provided cotton cloth not only for Tenochtitlan, but also for Azcapotzalco and Cuerhavaca, a testament to the role of the king as theocracy and cultural continuity, but also as civic leader, with the duty to promote social and economic development.
As Fray Bernardino de Sahagún observed: the Mexicans “are held to be barbarians and of very little worth; in truth, however, in matters of culture and refinement, they are a step ahead of other nations." We explore the history and legacy of the Nahua and Maya civilizations, both of which challenge our preconceptions.