Cesar Rivera

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BFA Thesis


The Aztecs' cultural heritage, literary production, and traditions are oftentimes overshadowed by a gruesome focus on religious practices such as sacrifice and cannibalism. A number of media forms like documentaries, movies, and animation have tended to portray Aztec religion as doomed and evil. These negative and simplistic depictions ignore or blatantly disregard exquisitely crafted sources for understanding and contextualizing the Aztecs' religious practices, such as the wealth of Aztec songs, poems, intricate rituals, and complex belief systems. In the sixteenth century Codex Florentine, compiled by Bernardino de Sahagún, one ceremony in particular, "The Ceremony of Toxcatl," beautifully illustrates Aztec cultural and religious achievements.

"The Ceremony of Toxcatl," the subject of my animated short film, was a one-year celebration wherein the Aztecs chose the most perfect captive enemy warrior and taught him the arts and traditions of their culture, treating him like a god for one year. The warrior would play the flute around the city, and would freely practice the other arts he had learned. When that year came to an end, the warrior would have embraced the Aztecs' religion, and voluntarily offered his body for sacrifice. According to Aztec beliefs, this sacrifice guaranteed the continual movement of the sun, as well as fertility and life on earth.

Dowload the Thesis document here ∇

Thesis Exhibition

  • Thesis show branding by:
  • Zohar Avgar
  • Published on June 2009
Other projects
Eyes of a blue dog Celebrate the bullet