Disk of Death

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#1

Welcome to the official discussion about Disk of Death in Mexico City, Mexico. Ask questions or share travel tips, experiences, pictures, or general comments with the community. For the story behind this place, check out the Atlas Obscura entry:
https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/disk-of-death?utm_source=atlas-forum&utm_medium=referral


#2

how BIG is it? Google images doesn’t help; it’s either 25 feet across or 1 foot across - which IS it?


#3

Hi deomcpgmail ,

I wrote the entry and have seen the artefact on a number of occasions. From my memory it is pretty big , I would say probably about 4 feet across. But to give you a more precise measurement the size is listed as being 126 x 102 x 25 cms according to the INAH website.

Hope that helps


#4

Dear M. Mictlan, thank you.

So it’s about 4 feet x 3-and-a-half feet.

I’m in Australia but I still cant “see” in centimetres - despite the fact that Australia had converted to decimal measurements back in 1976!

So… the ‘Disk of Death’ is big.


#5

Hi deomcpgmailcom

No problem , yes , it is quite large and it is most definitely a striking artefact. When you enter the gallery where it is displayed in the anthropology museum in Mexico city it definitely stands out.

It has traveled outside of Mexico for exhibitions on the Teutihuacan civilization in the past so hopefully there might be an exhibition featuring the disk down under so you get to see it.


#6

But, while 4 feet x 3.5, it’s still human-sized. Do you - or anyone - know where on the pyramid it was and, if so, if people could ‘address it’ on a human scale (and still be frightened by it I imagine)?


#7

I’m not too sure what you mean by addressing it , do you mean to give speeches or offerings to the sculpture?

The thing is , even the archeologists that have been researching Teutihuacan for decades admit that the civilization is almost a total mystery. We dont know too much about their cosmovision or culture and what has been discovered is not enough to form a big picture.

It might seem strange but it is hard to tell whether the sculpture and its purpose was to frighten people. Of course it could have been , but the thing is , Meso-American civilizations, and even the contemporary Mexicans to this day, just had/have a very different attitude and perception of the imagery and thoughts of death.

Death , the inherent tragedy of existence , sexuality and darkness have always kind of been integrated psychologically and spiritually in a Jungian sense as essential elements of life in Meso-America/Mexico. So its not necessarily something imbued with horror or denial like it is in other cultures , which I suppose is what makes it so fascinating , because ultimately it is completely alien to both the Occidental and Oriental worldviews / civilizations.

Sorry , I know thats not a brilliant answer and probably hasnt helped much , but its quite a tricky subject


#8

It IS a great answer and again, thanks.

If Dia de Los Muertos is any indication, the Meso Americans’ attitudes and approaches to death, dying and religious practice are entirely foreign & exotic to us.

The ‘Disk of Death’ and other artefacts just deepen our understanding that we don’t understand much at all about this fascinating civilisation.

Truly obscure!


#9

Hi Duncan ,

No problem , yes , very true. I think one of the reasons they are so foreign to us has something to do with the arrival of Judeo-Christian religions in Europe and our history. Perhaps in pre-christian times when pagan religious beliefs were the norm there was something a bit more closer to the Pre-Hispanic in terms of cultural concepts of duality.

Because in European history after christianity we see during the middle ages/ medieval and renaissance periods and then at sort of intervals because of Georgian and Victorian revivals (At least in the UK and France) we had the memento mori’s , book of hours , and allegories that depicted death and its presence in life. But these were always portrayed in a fearful sense as the polar opposite of life , something that intruded and terminated life , meant to cause fear and reflection / religious devotion and the perfection of a persons character.

But in the Meso-American cosmovision death and life were merged and fused as one in a dualistic sense and death could be this sort of generative and renewing process that was just another part of the fecundity of the universe like the cycles of maize harvest or the rise and fall of deer populations.


#10

Judeo-Christianity - and all the post-mediaeval dogma that arose from it - completely upended pre-Christian perceptions of the continuum of death and life and, from my point of view, warped western societies’ attitudes and perceptions of death and dying where redemption, fear and eternal damnation replaced the natural and inevitable and cyclical.

It’s hard (or impossible for many) to “de-think” a Judeo-Christian mindset and imagine what ancient Meso-American beliefs and practices were beyond the what-we-perceive-to-be barbarity and violence.

I think we’re done now. The Disk of Death is, and will remain, an object of endless speculation and enduring mystery and we will just look on in uncomprehending awe at its power and beauty


#11

Totally agree with you on this Duncan. It is indeed difficult to de-think a judeo-christian mindset , probably impossible, but through contemplating artifacts like the disk we can catch glimpses of other worldviews.


#12

:+1:t2::nerd_face::+1:t2::nerd_face::+1:t2::nerd_face:


#13

FYI, travelers, this piece is currently on tour with other Teotihuacan pieces around North America. But there are so many other great things to see at Teotihuacan and in the National Museum of Anthropology and Templo Major site in Mexico City.


#14

OMG we have so much in common. My interest developed after I began reading R. Scott Lemriel’s books. I am so mesmerized by his terrestrial experiences. I so wanna do one myself


#15

Not too sure what this artifact has to do with new age gurus (Incidentally I have never read anything by that author)Catherine , but thank you for posting


#16

I was there on 12/27/18, and saw the piece in the museum. The entire museum is amazing, a must see when in Mexico City.


#17

Museum of Natural History in Mexico City is the most Awe inspiring place to go. Another visit is never enough. You need to go again and again. The fact that I never saw this artifact proves that. I’d dearly love to go again but at my age that is, sadly out of the question. Leap that wall you US citizens an go visit and enjoy.