Sunday, November 8, 2009

British Museum presents Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler - the Spanish perspective on the civilization that they have destroyed

British+Museum+Moctezuma+Aztec+Ruler+review+Singaporean+in+LondonWhen the Spaniard Hernan Cortes arrived in the capital of Aztecs, Tenochtitlan in 1519, little did the Aztecs know that it would beckoned the demise of their 200 year old kingdom that spanned across the current day Mexico.

Ultimately, it was a combination of factors that brought the once proud people to their knees. Awed by the Spanish expedition's strange physical appearance, the Aztec king, Moctezuma II showered the Spaniards with lavish gifts and even offered them residence in his palaces.

British Museum brings to London Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler. The exhibition presented to us not only the artifacts of the Aztec people but also what eventually led to their capitulation to the Spaniards in a mere 2 years.

What's interesting here is that most, if not all, of this exhibition is presented in the Spanish perspective. According to the Spanish records, Moctezuma II died of injuries after he went out onto the palace (where he was held captive by the Spaniards) balcony to chastise his subjects but was subsequently branded as a traitor and stoned by the angry crowd. No one really know what really led to his death till this day.


Though most records of the Aztec civilization were eradicated by the Spaniards when 'New Spain' was established on the foundation of the Aztec capital, the stone monuments and artifacts of that era presented in the Mocteczuma: Aztec Ruler exhibition did offer a rare glimpse of the mystical Aztec religious order that pretty much dictate Moctezuma's world.

Look out for the stone eagle with a cavity on its back where the hearts of human sacrificial victims were offered to the gods. You could almost hear feel the terror of the victims just by looking at the eagle's eyes. Also, towards the end of the exhibition, there is a series of drawings that provide a handful summary of events.

I thought that the price of £12 adult entry ticket (£3 additional for audio guide) was a bit steep. However, British Museum did manage to present an interesting take of what might have happened immediately before and after the Spaniards set foot on Tenochtitla. Also, there is a series of activities provided for children to keep them occupied. Allow 1.5 - 2hr for this.  If you're a British Museum member, you get to go in free. Find out more details on official website.

Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler
British Museum (24th Sept 2009 - 24th Jan 2010)
Great Russell Street
London WC18 3DG
Tel: 020 7323 8195

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Emm said...

Oh, I'm dying to go see this one. My brother and I are both really interested in the Aztecs. But £12??? Very steep indeed. I'll have to Google 2-for-1 specials.