'The Aztec Empire'
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
October 15, 2004-February 13, 2005

Let us suppose that you are living in the great city of Tenochtitlan (today’s Mexico City) in the glory days of the Aztec Empire—that is, before the arrival of Cortés and the Spaniards. And let us imagine that you are worried—very, very worried. Will the sun rise tomorrow? What if it doesn’t? What if it never comes up again? We must do something to make sure the sun rises tomorrow or we are doomed!

Well, luckily for you, the Emperor, the leading nobles, and the chief priests have given this matter a great deal of thought. What we must do, they explain, is have the chief priest rip the hearts out of thousands of living humans, toss the hearts into a large stone container as food for the gods, and then hurl the bloody bodies down the steps of the Great Temple, whereupon...

 

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