web activity Aztec Tattoo


web activity Aztec Tattoo
Make an Aztec Tattoo
Many pre-Columbian cultures painted decorations on
their bodies. To make these temporary tattoos, they
applied natural pigments to a clay or stone stamp and
pressed it onto their skin. Some stamps were flat; others
were in the shape of small wheels. When the wheels
were rolled over the skin they made long border-like
designs. Try it out!
Here’s What You’ll Need
Small potato
Potato peeler
Knife (ask an adult to help)
Tempera paint, any color
Small plate
These little clay figures were made by an artist about
2,000 years ago. They show us how people who lived
during that time decorated their skin with designs.
Peel the potato. Cut it into three 1/4-inch
slices to create three circular disks.
Carve a design around the edges of each
disk. To do this, cut wedges or curves along
its 1/4-inch side. For example, make two
cuts each to form several V shapes around the
edge. Repeat for each slice.
Stack the disks and pierce with a toothpick, pushing it through the slices until
they are centered on the pick. Let the
slices dry overnight.
Here is a preColumbian stamp
design showing
a jaguar and
serpent motif
To begin, pour a small amount of paint
onto a plate. Holding the stamp by each
end of the toothpick, roll the stamp in the
paint. Be sure to cover all the edges
around the slices.
Apply the tattoo to your own leg, or decorate a friend’s arm. Hold each end of the
toothpick and slowly roll the stamp over
the skin.
Make an Aztec Tattoo
The Mexican artist Diego Rivera had a huge collection of simple
clay figures. Experts think that ancient people made the figurines
to keep the dead company in the afterlife. Other figurines were
used for rituals. They helped a priest ensure a successful harvest
or birth. At first you might think that all these figurines look the
same. But examine them more closely and you’ll see that each has
its own personality. Some are chubby, some are happy, and some
look surprised. Can you see that this woman is holding a baby?
Rivera delighted in his collection of clay people. Sometimes
his wife Frida Kahlo used them as props in her paintings as well.
King Netzahualcoyotl
The Aztecs were a group of native people
that lived in central Mexico from 1370 to
1521. They were both expert artisans and
fierce warriors. One method the Aztecs
used to please their gods was human sacrifice. They battled neighboring tribes to
capture enemy warriors. Then they sacrificed their prisoners in elaborate ceremonies.
One king in a neighboring tribe
thought there were other ways to please
the gods. He had the tongue-twisting name
of Netzahualcoyotl (neh-tzah-wahl-COYohtuhl). Born in 1403, he was the king of
the Texcocans (tex-COH-cans). They lived
next to Lake Texcoco in central Mexico,
near the Aztecs. Luckily, Netzalhualcoyotl
had a pact with his warrior neighbors and
didn’t have to fear invasion.
King N is known as the poet-king.
He thought the gods would be pleased if
people created beautiful things for them,
such as artwork, songs, and poems. He
wrote wonderful poems! He was also an
inventor. One legend credits him with developing a flying machine -- 500 years
before the Wright brothers!
This Activity is from:
-by Carol Sabbeth
For more fun projects and artful games from this author go to CarolBooks.net
Copyright 2011 Carol Sabbeth

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