Department of Art and Art History Calendar

The Mesoamerica Center Colloquium Series: Patrick Hajovsky

carved stone of Mexica-Aztec heiroglyphs
Moteuczoma’s Fame in Three Dimensions: Sign, Speech and Portrait in Tenochtitlan

Two Nahuatl terms for fame—mahuizotl (literally, "fearsomeness") and tenyotl (literally, "lipness")—serve as a guide to understand sculptural representations of the Mexica-Aztec king Moteuczoma (r. 1502-20). His name hieroglyph appears on eight stone sculptures, and it incorporates almost as many qualifying elements and speech iconographies; sometimes it even appears with an iconic portrait. The name glyph is located on various sculptural forms and on different surfaces (including the underside of one), thus evoking complex notions of personhood and publicity. Across the sculptures, the name and speech signs comment in different ways upon his unique power of command, both as a political agent and as a mediator to the gods.

Patrick Hajovsky is Assistant Professor of Art History at Southwestern University, where he has been teaching pre-Columbian and colonial Latin American art since 2009. He is the author of an upcoming book with UT Press (due in 2015), tentatively titled Moteuczoma, On the Lips of Others: Sculpture, Ritual and Fame in Tenochtitlan.