October 12, 2019 until August 16, 2020

The Baden-Württemberg State Exhibtion, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the landing of the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés in the Gulf of Mexico opened up a new, in-depth look at the culture of the Aztecs. Beginning with the periphery of the Aztec empire (ca. 1430 – 1521) and the natural and cultural diversity of Mexico, the exhibition approached the interior of the empire and its capital Tenochtitlan. This part of the exhibition focused on two of the world’s four surviving Aztec feather shields and a high-quality greenstone figurine.

After passing through the ruling palace of Emperor Moctezuma, the visitors entered the very heart of the empire: the sacred precinct with the main temple Templo Mayor. The tributes that the Aztec empire imposed on its conquered provinces served as a guideline for the exhibition. They flowed to Tenochtitlan and in large numbers on to the Templo Mayor, as offerings to the gods.

An accomplished art

The Aztec stone sculptures captivate with their naturalistic and detailed representation, often combined with calendar signs, characteristics of certain deities or the combination of different gods. Valuable mosaic masks, feather work and gold jewelry give an idea of the splendor the conquistadors found at the court of the Aztec ruler. A separate thematic section was dedicated to the colorful illuminated manuscripts. A special feature of the exhibition was the presentation of the latest research and excavation results. The Templo Mayor excavation project and the associated museum provided us with recently discovered offerings that had never been exhibited before.

Top-class lenders

The exhibition presented around 150 high-caliber loans from Mexican and European museums. Lending institutions were the Museo Templo Mayor and the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City, the Musées royaux d’Art et d’Histoire (Brussels), the National Museum of Denmark (Copenhagen), the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam), the Museum Volkenkunde (Leiden), the Museum der Kulturen Basel, the Weltmuseum Wien, the Museum am Rothenbaum (Hamburg), the Museum Weltkulturen (Mannheim), the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum (Cologne) and Schloss Friedenstein (Gotha).

Particularly noteworthy are the two feather shields and the greenstone figure from the Württemberg State Museum, which were on display for the first time in the context of Aztec culture.

Aztecs was an exhibition organized by the Linden-Museum Stuttgart in cooperation with the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen (Netherlands). The exhibition was under the patronage of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Sponsored by:
State of Baden-Wuerttemberg

In cooperation with:
Secretaria de Cultura del Gobierno de México , INAH, Museo Nacional de Antropologia (Mexico City), Museo Templo Mayor (Mexico City)

With kind support:
Sparkassen Finance Group

Media partner:
Damals – The magazine for history