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. 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).
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.