Page:Mexico as it was and as it is.djvu/155

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114
MEXICO.

And the next is a picture of its lower part or bottom:


click on this image to enlarge it.


It is the opinion of all the Mexican antiquarians, from the fact of this sculpture in relief being found beneath the idol, and the additional fact of the projections at the sides of the body near the waist, (as seen in the first plate,) that the statue was suspended by them on pillars, so as to allow the worshippers or the priests to pass with ease beneath the monster. The idol represented on the base is supposed to be that of Mictlan-teuhtli, the "god of Hell."

The height of this immense mass, carved from one solid block of basalt is nine feet and its breadth about five and a half.

Such was one of the hideous gods worshipped by the ancient Mexicans. In the year 1790, on the 13th of August, it was found at a short depth below the surface of the great square. It was removed, some time afterward, to the court-yard of the University, where it was buried again to conceal it from the Indians, who might have been tempted by the devil, (as was said by the priests.) to return to its idolatrous worship. It is only since the year 1821, that it has been exposed to public view in the inclosure where I found it, and which I have described to you.