Sacrificial Knife

This chert knife represents the god Tecpatl who protects the day and also has a day in the Miztec (Aztec) calendar dedicated to it. This calendar day is one of trials and tribulations in which the character of people is tested.

This piece’s teeth and cornea are likely made of shell. The knife looks to have once been stuck somewhere so that it sat vertical, as a bit of cement-like substance is still seen at its base.

Found: Templo Mayor, Ciudad de Mexico


The Tecpatl was an Aztec knife or dagger that was constructed from an obsidian blade affixed to a wooden handle. The Tecpatl was traditionally a sacrificial weapon on the Aztec when they would make a blood sacrifice to appease their gods, but the Tecpatl would also be used in a battle as a close quarter fighting weapon to finish their foes off where needed.

Sacrificial Knife Monument: Museo Nacional de Antropología, DF, México

This votive sculpture that celebrates human sacrifice in the honor of the Aztec gods is a pedestal that was originally located at the base of a large column. It is decorated with reliefs of Tecpatl, the sacrificial knife deity with expressive faces. At the top of the pedestal is a damaged carving depicting the face of Tlatecuhtli, the sea monster that became the land of the earth, who required human blood to remain alive.


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