Mexico City – The Spanish conquest continues to be "an open wound in Mexico" five centuries later, the curator of the National Museum of Anthropology's "La Conquista a sangre y fuego" (The Conquest by Fire and Blood) exhibition, Francisco Gonzalez-Hermosillo, said.
"There have been all kinds of reactions, but, especially, there are many who leave very hurt after seeing the bloody images that speak of the violence there was during that period in history," the researcher told Efe.
The paintings, codices and arms that make up the exhibition show the cruel methods used by the Spanish to impose their rule on Mesoamerica, Gonzalez-Hermosillo said.
The exhibition was organized to mark the 490th anniversary of the conquest of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, where Mexico City is situated, by Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes.
The goal of the exhibition is not to "change perceptions of history" but to give the Indians' view of the conquest because it is "so seldom taken into account," Gonzalez-Hermosillo said.
The exhibition, contrary to what some have claimed, is not designed to be an "exaltation of the violence," the curator said.
"That's not it, what we did was (create) a chronological frieze in which the Indians recreate the different stages of the conquest from their perspective," Gonzalez-Hermosillo said.
"It does not cease to be a version of the events because everyone interprets what happened from the point of view of the role they played at that time, and no version, as a result, is completely objective," the curator said.
The exhibition's goal is to draw people's attention to what happened during the conquest and "make them reflect" on the situation of Indians, who to this date remain trapped in poverty and "subjected to searing racial discrimination," Gonzalez-Hermosillo said.
The exhibit, which runs until Sept. 17, has already toured five states and will be sent to several foreign countries.
"La Conquista a sangre y fuego" allows visitors to view codices and historical artifacts, such as Cortes's standard and weapons used by the Mexicas.
The exhibition takes visitors from the arrival of the Spanish on the Gulf coast through their trek to Tenochtitlan, a splendid city located on a lake whose fall marked "the incorporation of Mesoamerica into the Spanish Crown," the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said in a statement.
Digital reproductions of the Florentino, Atlas de Duran, Azcatitlan, Historia Tolteca Chichimeca and Tellerino-Remensis codices are among the 51 illustrations and 25 artifacts in the museum's vestibule.
The exhibition also includes images of the 1531 Codigo Huexotzinco, which discusses the new social and tax problems faced by Indians forced to deal with Spanish officials such as Nuño de Guzman.
The arrival of the Spanish in Mexico was understood by the Indians to be a change foretold in the cosmology of Mesoamerican civilizations, Museum of Anthropology officials said.