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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: June 2014

9 - Aesthetics

from Part III - The Sacred


The traces of the Tolteca, their pyramids, their mounds, appear not only there at the places called Tula and Xicocotitlan, but practically everywhere…their potsherds, their pestles, their figurines, their arm bands appear everywhere…and many times Tolteca jewels – arm bands, esteemed green stones, fine turquoise – are taken from the earth.…In truth, [the Tolteca] invented all the precious, marvellous things which they made.…All which now exists was their discovery. They went to seek all the mines of amber, of rock crystal, of amethyst; they went to marvel at the pearls, the opals. And these Tolteca were very wise; they were thinkers, for they originated the year count, the day count. All their discoveries formed the book for interpreting dreams.…And so wise were they [that] they understood the stars which were in the heavens; they gave them names and understood their influence.

They were tall; they were larger than the people today.

Florentine Codex

The sacred could erupt perilously into the human world, using extremes of emotion and experience as its vehicle. But it was also intimated in the enchantments of ‘natural’ beauty, and could be courted, pursued and revealed through the regulated procedures of ‘art’.

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