Nine hundred skulls made of paper, wood and metal comprise the exhibition that artist Manuel Marin has opened in the Mexican capital as a tribute to the ancient Mexicas and their cult and adoration of death.

The work of installation art entitled "Tzompantli Mayor," on show at the Sebastian Foundation, is an allusion to the altar made of human heads that the Mexicas customarily built as a means of leading martyrs to their meeting with the gods.

"The 'Tzompantli' was an altar where the skulls of sacrificed warriors were placed to honor the gods, and was the most striking evidence of the politico-religious control the Mexicas exercised" over other indigenous peoples, the artist told Efe.

Every one of the skulls that Marin presents in this work is "unique, personal and unrepeatable."

To make sure that each piece would be different, the artist created 25 basic structures of different volumes and dimensions, and of each of those fashioned numerous variations.

The exhibition has two basic elements - skulls made of cut-outs or bas-reliefs on the wall impaled on wooden sticks, and others of metal or paper on the floor, which reproduces the platform where the sacrifices were performed.

With this work the artist intended to explore deeply into the idea of death and recalled that for the pre-Columbian Mexicas the concept was very different from that of today's Christianity. "For them, death was a continuation, a step into another state or another life. There was almost no separation between the living and the dead," he said.

"In popular Mexican culture there is an almost constant reference to death, I'd say it's an almost everyday sight, and as for me, ever since I was in school I've been fascinated by the skull motif," he said.

Follow us on
Like us at