Teopanzolco: Temple of Tezcatlipoca (Building 13)

Temple of Tezcatlipoca at Teopanzolco
W0059:Temple of Tezcatlipoca
The second largest structure found amongst the ruins of Teopanzolco is Building 13, which is thought to have been a temple dedicated to Tezcatlipoca. Like those dedicated to the God of War, Huitzilopochtli, temples dedicated to Tezcatlipoca were always built facing west towards the setting sun. Tezcatlipoca was one of the major Aztec deities, along with Tlaloc, Huitzilopochtli and Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl – all of whom are represented in the buildings at Teopanzolco, which demonstrates it was a very important ceremonial centre for the Aztecs. Tezcatlipoca had many aspects, but most notably he is linked to the Jaguar and it is thought the spots of his jaguar skin coat are symbolic of his role as the God of the Night-Sky. An unusual festival was held in his honour during the Toxcatl, the fifth sacred month, where a handsome young captive warrior was selected to impersonate Tezcatlipoca for a whole year. The young pretender was provided with every luxury, including four beautiful mock goddesses who tended to his needs. When the year was over, the young impersonator would be taken to the Tezcatlipoca’s temple (such as Building 13 at Teopanzolco – fig. W0059)  where he would have his beating heart cut-out and offered to the Tezcatlipoca.

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