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AZTEC CALENDAR.

History and Prophecy.

A specimen of the famous Aztec calendar stone, which also illustrates an Aztec history of the world, a phophecy, and a record of Aztec myths, has been presented to the Aus

tralian Museum by Mr. E. J. Bryce, of Syd- ney, who recently returned to Australia from a world tour.

It is a small scale plaster cast of the calen- dar stone, and within the next few days will be placed in a prominent position at the main entrance to the museum. With it Mr. Bryce hos also given to the museum trustees several pottery figures representing Aztec deities found near the ruins of the Pyra- mids of Teotihuacan (Mexico).

Aztec Calendar Stone.

History records that the Mexirnn Indians, upon arrival of their Spanish conquerors in 1519, were found to be in possession of a method of measuring divisions of time comparable with that obtaining In Europe at that period. The device represented on the Aztec calendar stone is engraved within a circle which mea- sures 11 feet in diameter and the stone It- self weighs more than 20 tons.

This elaborately carved stone disc is char- acteristic of the conventionalised art de- veloped by these people. The sculptured figures, which at first appear complicated, consist of symbols and glyphs arranged about the central figure of Tonatiah, the sun god, with the symbol Olin, a sign signifying an earthquake The historical portion is divided into five suns or ages, four of the past and one of the present. The present age, or period, is dominated by the existing symbol Olin-Tonatiah, because the earth (according to Aztec prophecy) is destined to be destroyed by an earthquake. Arranged about the sym- bol Olin are the four past suns or cycles, each enclosed in a rectangle and designed to be read from right to left. The first of these symbols Is Ocelotl, or the jaguar, the next Ehecatl, or the wind, the third Quiahuitl, or fire-rain and the last Atl, or water.

The Interpretation of these symbols is that the first sun or age was destroyed by a jaguar, the second cycle or sun by a hurricane, the third by rain or fire, and the fourth by a flood. Outside the historical portion of the stone arp the 20 Aztec day symbols, while sur- rounding all are two reptilian monsters meet- ing face to face and with their tails at the top of the stone. These are the turquoise snakes and the symbols of fire and water. In the mouth of each is a human head, re- presenting the fire god Xuihtecutll.

The Aztecs adjusted their civil year to cor- respond with the solar vear. They divided it into l8 months of 20 days each; five sup- plementary days were added to make up the full number of 365 days, as In ancient Egypt.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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