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Mirrors in Mesoamerican culture and Function and symbolism of mirrors in Mesoamerica

Mirrors in Mesoamerican culture and Function and symbolism of mirrors in Mesoamerica
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Mirrors in Mesoamerican culture

The usage of mirrors in mesoamerican lifestyle became associated with the idea that they served as portals to a realm that would be seen but not interacted with.[2] mirrors in pre-columbian mesoamerica have been customary from stone and served a number of uses, from the ornamental to the divinatory.[3] an historical lifestyle amongst many mesoamerican cultures became the exercise of divination the usage of the floor of a bowl of water as a mirror. on the time of the spanish conquest this form of divination become nonetheless practiced a number of the maya, aztecs and purépecha.[3] in mesoamerican artwork, mirrors are often associated with swimming pools of liquid; this liquid become probably to had been water.[4][nb 1]

Mirrors in Mesoamerican culture and Function and symbolism of mirrors in Mesoamerica

Early mirrors have been fashioned from unmarried pieces of iron ore, polished to produce a notably reflective floor. by means of the conventional period, mosaic mirrors had been being comprised of an expansion of ores, making an allowance for the development of larger mirrors. mosaic pyrite mirrors have been crafted throughout huge elements of mesoamerica inside the traditional duration, mainly at teotihuacan and for the duration of the maya region. pyrite degrades with time to depart little more than a stain on the mirror again by the point it is excavated. this has brought about the common misidentification of pyrite replicate backs as paint palettes, painted discs or pot lids. by the postclassic duration obsidian mirrors became more and more common.

Function and symbolism of mirrors in Mesoamerica

A ways from being a private cosmetic accessory, mirrors in mesoamerica had been divinatory aids and also shaped part of elite fame gown.[5] mirrors have been considered as metaphors for sacred caves and as conduits for supernatural forces; they have been related to fiery hearths and swimming pools of water because of their vivid surfaces. mirrors had been additionally intently associated with the sun.[6] mirrors have been often used in pre-columbian mexico to expose a person’s future through divination.[7] among the maya of the classic period mirrors had been a way of verbal exchange with otherworld entities, as depicted in scenes painted on ceramic vessels.[8] otherworld mirrors have been believed to be the a ways side of earthly mirrors, and had been owned and utilized by deities and different supernatural beings.[9] in vital mexico inside the postclassic duration, the sector turned into metaphorically conceived as a big round replicate.[10]

Mirrors in Mesoamerican culture and Function and symbolism of mirrors in Mesoamerica


Mirrors were associated with fireplace in mesoamerica, and representations of mirrors may want to take the shape of plant life and be blended with representations of butterflies. both butterflies and flora were associated with hearth in imperative mexico from the conventional to postclassic periods, with butterflies representing flames.[12] the olmecs of the preclassic duration normal concave mirrors that were capable of lighting fires.[13]


Mirrors had been also related to water; an early conventional replicate in the fashion of teotihuacan changed into excavated at remote guácimo in costa rica. it covered teotihuacan imagery that became a stylised conference for representing our bodies of water.[14] water imagery endured to be associated with mirrors in vital mexico proper as much as aztec times.[15] these representations of water-related mirrors in mesoamerican art reputedly use the mirror to symbolise the floor of a pool of water. for the duration of the classic length mirrors have been positioned in bowls to symbolically constitute bowls of water; examples are recognised from teotihuacan and for the duration of the maya vicinity. water-crammed bowls had been used as mirrors for divinatory purposes proper up to modern times in mesoamerica and the yank southwest. an incense burner from early traditional escuintla on the guatemalan pacific slope combines butterfly and water imagery. the mirror has flanking ears representing the wings of the butterfly this is growing from a water-filled bowl.[14]

Mirrors in Mesoamerican culture and Function and symbolism of mirrors in Mesoamerica


A painted mural from teotihuacan, now within the de young museum in san francisco, has a representation of a mirror containing a glyph representing a piece of jade jewelry. such jade pendants are depicted regularly in teotihuacan artwork falling in streams. inside the maya area jade beads had been often positioned along mirrors in burials and offerings inside the classic and postclassic periods.[16] despite the fact that jade can also have been positioned alongside mirrors because of the high value of each to their mesoamerican owners, it’s far equally likely that the affiliation of jade with mirrors is because of jade being used in divinatory practices. like mirrors, jade beads had been used for scrying and had been invested with supernatural powers.[17] jade additionally had an association with water.[18]

Eyes and faces

Representations of mirrors in artwork from conventional duration teotihuacan and guatemala’s pacific coastal area depict the replicate face using a glyph inside the shape of a reptile’s eye, the meaning of which isn’t always clear.[19] the ringed eyes of the imperative mexican rain god tlaloc can also have represented mirrors from representations at teotihuacan within the traditional duration proper via to the aztecs on the time of spanish touch. in the historia fashionable de las cosas de nueva españa, the nahuatl phrase tezcactl is used to consult each the attention and mirrors. this affiliation also existed among the maya, the tzotzil maya phrase nen sat is used for the pupil or eye and method literally “replicate of the face” or “reflect of the eye”. this affiliation of mirrors with eyes may derive from the highly reflective eyes of the jaguar. mirror stones have been used to represent the eyes in sculptures from many mesoamerican cultures.[20]


From the traditional duration mirrors started to be related to spider webs, perhaps because of the community of lines at the surface of mosaic mirrors that advanced at that time. imagery associating mirrors with spiders and their webs is exceptionally often encountered at teotihuacan.[14] the affiliation of mirrors with spiders persisted proper up to the postclassic and beyond, with a elegant gold mixtec reflect returned taking the form of a spider. the modern-day huichol still associate mirrors with spider webs.[21]


Mirrors had been diagnosed with the solar in mesoamerica for the reason that preclassic period, whilst the olmecs associated the 2.[10] the maya maintained the same association all through the classic duration,[22] and the relationship between mirrors and the sun has endured into current times, with the sierra totonac of mexico referring to the solar as espejo sol, “reflect sun”. within the postclassic duration, the turquoise mirrors of the toltecs and aztecs represented the solar.[22]


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