Aztec Art & Textiles

A lecture by Chloe Sayer

On the 13th of June Chloe Sayer gave the group a clear insight into a great civilisation.

The Aztec Empire existed for only a few hundred years,from the founding of its chief city, Teotihuacan in 1325 until its destruction in 1521.

The Spanish who first encountered the Aztec people in 1519 discovered a very tightly organised society based on a military hierarchy with an autocratic ruler revered as the link between humans and the gods. With almost nine million people to feed and control propitiation of the goods had become of paramount importance, including human sacrifice.

The works of art sent back to Europe by the early Spanish explorers were received with awe and amazement at the opulence of the materials and workmanship on display; newly discovered foodstuffs also excited the interest of European entrepreneurs. The obvious possibilities of so much wealth proved too strong for the European invaders and much was destroyed at the time of the conquest.

Examples of the wealth and variety of the work of Aztec artists and craftsmen and women on exhibition in London in the early years of this century were used by Chloe Sayer to illustrate the unique nature of their culture and to link it with the work being produced in the region todayt.