skull of the smoking mirror

mm033536_lMosaic mask of Tezcatlipoca :: 15th-16th century, Mexico

The base for the mosaic is a human skull. The skull is cut away at the back and lined with deer skin on which the movable jaw is hinged. Long deerskin straps would have allowed the skull to be worn as part of priestly regalia…

The mosaic decoration is worked in alternate bands of bright blue turquoise and black lignite. The eyes are made of two orbs of polished iron pyrite framed by rings made of white conch (Strombus) shell. The nasal cavity is lined with plates of bright red Spondylus (thorny oyster) shell. | Source: The British Museum

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