The Aztecs exhibition

Blue vessel depicting Tláloc (God of Rain) 1440–69

The Aztec Empire lasted 500 years with gods, demons, warriors, slaves, nobles, and human sacrifice part of daily life. The Aztecs exhibition shines a light on the Empire with more than 200 sacred cultural objects generously lent from museums throughout Mexico, providing a fascinating insight into the ways of life, beliefs and sacrificial rituals of the Aztecs.

The Aztecs exhibition focuses on six major themes to bring this great history to life: including the origins and migration of the Aztecs; religious beliefs and rituals; war and conquest; royal power and family life; markets, trade and agriculture; and finally the fall of the Aztec Empire. The exhibition centrepiece is a scale model replica of the exterior of the Great Temple – Huey Teocalli, the most important Aztec temple and a site considered to be the centre of the universe. Other highlights of the exhibition include a large ceramic sculpture of Mictlantecuhtli – god of death and lord of the underworld, who stands bent over with his liver hanging out, grinning maniacally, and a skilfully made gold pendant depicting Xochipilli (Flower Prince) – the God of dance, song, art, flowers and beauty. Aztecs is on at the Australian Museum until 1 February 2015.