Tezontle

Exploring the lateral wings of Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology, I found a small vitrine with an anthropomorphic figure on a small wooden pedestal, placed next to a couple of ceramic vases. Unlike pieces I had seen in other halls, in which Mexican archaeology appears striking in both its scale and unscathed stone surfaces, these small and modest objects were splattered with red stains the color of human blood. The cultures occupying the zone that is now the State of Mexico, extracted iron in Huahuaxtla and Huitzuco (in the neighboring state of Guerrero), transporting it back to their cities in heavy, large bottle-shaped containers. By macerating mineral fragments using stone mortars, the iron was reduced to a thin dust that would be scattered over ritual and funerary objects, with the purpose of infusing their deceased ones with life beyond their earthly existence. [...]