Over the weekend I bought the Tomb Raider colouring book. Just for fun. I intend to colour all of the fantastic images in this fine art book. While flipping through the great art choices, I came across this one, and it is now my favourite. The “why” in this equation is, it has the “Day of the Dead” (Dia de los Muertos) mask (calacas) [A Latin American custom that combines indigenous Aztec ritual with Catholicism] in this case from Cozumel, Mexico, where the game opens, and I have great memories there with my family. Another reason is there is a double-headed snake from Aztec legend, and in the background, there is the Aztec Sun Stone, also known as the Maya Calendar Stone. You can find my article about that stone HERE. Please note that the colours I used in the Sun Stone are what is shown on the colour version of this stone from the video from the Kane academy in my article.
There is another exceptional ancient element in this great piece, and that is the double-headed snake below her. These are from Aztec myth. However, what do two-headed snakes mean in Aztec culture?
The word “coatl” in the Aztec culture means serpent or twin. They believed they were magical and held significant power. Serpents were also connected to fertility and water including re-birth due to how they shed their skin. You can additonally find two serpents on the Calendar stone accompaning the sun on its daily journey across the sky.
The double headed snake ( Maquizcoatl) has a dark reputation and thought to be the sign of bad omens. In Aztec legend it is believed that if you find one on your path you must put it on your arm. ahowever, if you could not move it from your arm it is said death is near by.
Maquizcoatl is also associated to elite people from the Aztec world. Their supreme god Huitzilopochtli was also called ” Maquizcoatl”
With all the importance conneting them in the Aztec world, it is no wonder why they had a serpent god better known as Qetzequatle the featherd serpent.
However … what was this particular Maquizcoatl used for?
This beautiful mosaic Maquizcoatl may have been a representation of a “sky-band” or celestial realm. This piece is thought to have been an authority symbol and part of ceremonial events.
The base is made of cedar wood the skilful artist affixed the tiny turquoise polished mosaic pieces with pine resin. The attention to detail was astounding, and the use of the green/blue turquoise was no accident. It was made in this colour palette to represent Quetzalcoatl the Aztec feathered serpent god.
This double-headed snake is housed in the British Museum. I made the one I worked on from the art book by Crystal Dynamics this colour, because, of the original one. I wanted to keep it authentic. I chose to place these photos here to elaborate on the incredible detail of this magnifacent piece.
Additionally, please note the Sun Stone or Maya Calander Stone in the background. Here is the photo I used taken directly from a colourized version of the Khane Academy’s video museum analysis of the object.
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