Hidden deep within the heart of the Latin America jungles, lay the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, the centre of the empire of blood. While the people slept peacefully under the star filled sky, their destiny was creeping closer and closer. Day by day it marched eastward, league by league, one step at a time in the form of a Spaniard, Cortés. The peaceful night had passed quietly into history. As the daylight came to bring the new day it brought with it the end of a powerful empire. Dawn was coming. Little did the people know that something was watching them, helpless in the Aztecs final battles against their destiny. There he was, well hidden in the protective branches of a tall tree watching the dawn rise, perhaps for the last time over the beautiful city of Tenochtitlan. A tiny quetzal like creature patiently waited, for it was all he could do. The dragon, no stranger to the Aztecs carefully kept his distance in the protective branches of the jungle. To the Aztecs he was Quetzalcoatl, the god of fertility; to the jungle he was family. This tiny dragon meant more to the Aztecs than they meant to him, for he was proof that their god, Quetzalcoatl was real. As the dawn rose under the watchful eyes of the dragon, he knew that their time was growing short. Hidden in the dawn’s rays the message of destruction shone brightly. For the city no longer glowed brilliant gold in the morning’s first light, but deep crimson gold, like freshly spilt blood. Their time was drawing near and even though they would be gone, their legacy would continue on for centuries. Concealed deep within the vast marshland of the jungle, sheltered by the treetops, he would be there forever, for dragons never die, and neither do gods.
Alright, this picture was done for my art class but its one of the first ones I've ever done that I've put my heart and soul into the picture. I love history and thought it would be best to do something that I liked. This was floating around from before and it just kinda went t'gether. For those of you who don't know much about the Aztecs, its history time.
Warning: highly educational
The Aztecs are a Mesoamerican culture that date from 1200 c. BC to 1521. In the earlier stages of their culture the Aztecs are thought to have come from the Olmecs and the Toltecs, just as the Mayans. Mesoamerican culture has a lot of its roots in the beliefs of blood and death.
Now, the Aztecs, when they settled in Tenochtitlan they created the Twin Temples, which was discovered in Mexico City about 7 or so years back, which were dedicated to their gods Tlaloc, the rain god, and Huitzilopochitli, the god of blood, war and the sun. The other Temple that is seen in my picture is the one of Quetzalcoatl their god of fertility. This is where things get kinda confusing. An old Aztec legend states that Quetzalcoatl was chased out of the jungle, and then sailed westward on a large raft made of serpents. It is said that he cried out as he departed that he would be back to reclaim his throne. “The predicted year of his second coming was to be 1 Reed on the Aztec calendar- as capricious fate would have it, the very year of Cortés’s arrival” Aztecs: Reign of Blood and Splendor. Fate had a large roll to play in the downfall of the Aztec empire, had Motecuhzoma, the Aztec emperor, not have handed over his power to Cortés, the Aztecs would possibly still around today. Quetzalcoatl and Cortés were confused with each other and therefore because of the legend it caused Motecuhzoma to hand his power over to Cortés. If this had not have happened then history would be a lot different. From what I have read in my book on the Aztecs, they had already wiped out nearly half of Cortés’ army because they knew the terrain and they knew how to deliver blows that would maim, not kill, their opponent. That way they could use the opponents as sacrificial victims instead of their own people. The Aztecs could go through the army quickly before the Spaniards could load their muskets or draw their swords. If Motecuhzoma had not been scared of Quetzalcoatl’s return, Cortés would not have stood a chance against the fierce battle tactics of the Aztecs.
This entire picture I’ve painted has t’ do with the coming of Cortés. The blood red dawn represents Cortés and the end of the Aztecs. The dragon is meant to look like Quetzalcoatl from behind but from the front he’s more dragon like. The idea behind it is that their gods, represented by the dragon, could do nothing to prevent the coming of the dawn, Cortés. All they could do was sit in the distance and wait for it to come. If anyone is interested in the Aztec destiny, not my painting but their ideas, feel free to mail me. I’ll be happy to explain more to you. All of this information was taken from Lost Civilizations, Aztecs: Reign of Blood and Splendor.
Acrylic on hard board.