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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Tecpatl, The Story of the Sacrificial Knife That Was Used to Take Away a Human Heart

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The Aztec culture is vast and complex, it has many traditions that are considered mysterious and taboo from our perspective. The Tecpatl  knife that had a lanceolate figure and was sharpen from both sides of the blade. This knife was traditionally used by the Priests for human sacrifice in the Aztec culture but was also used as a short range secondary weapon by the jaguar warriors. It was sharp enough to cause some damage and it could be used from various directions giving it stealth and deadlines.

Before we continue note that this isn’t just a simple knife, it’s one of the most complex symbols of iconographic in the Aztec religion. The knife has multiple meanings and it has big importance in their world, this is the reason for using it in their human sacrifice rituals.

Besides it’s mythological function this knife was very useful, it had meanings in the Aztec calendar as a symbol, it was a lunar symbol and ruled over agricultural events. The knife could also be used as a flint because of it’s material. It could be used to start a fire making it really useful when you were on a journey or whenever a quick fire is needed.

This knife is associated with the beginning of the Aztec mythology and it’s really hard to explain in a short article.  It was used by the priests to open up the chests of the victims so they could extract the hearth. This was used for pleasing the gods and had had to do a selected amount of rituals each year. The victim was still alive while his hearth was removed.

There are different types of knives used for this ritual, shape and design to make the ritual more pleasant. The problem here is that too little knives only survived. From what it’s currently found it could easily be spotted that each knife could be considered unique and it has its own representation.

When it came to its use in warfare it was considered effective. The jaguar warriors fought the near tribes and often won, creating the famous Aztec Empire. Afterwards the enemies were kept alive, as prisoners and were later used for ceremonial purposes, such as human sacrifice.

The knife is made from obsidian which a volcanic glass that is really sharp. It’s naturally made and a handle was attached to it. It was really light and it’s length around 10 inches.


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