Aztec Culture

The Meaning Behind Aztec Dance, Music, and Art

Aztec art played an important role in ancient Aztec culture. In fact, their art was created primarily as an expression of religion and warfare. Many examples of this aspect of Aztec culture can be found in the form of paintings on the walls of temples and those created on special paper made of bark. Colorful Aztec masks were also made by craftsman as a tribute to various gods to be used in rituals and ceremonies.

Among the Aztec artifacts that have been discovered is a wide array of pottery. The Aztec indians made pottery by layering strips of clay. These strips of clay were worked into griddles, storage jars, goblets and other vessels. When the shape was complete, the pottery was hardened in open kilns heated over the fire. For the most part, the pottery was white or red with black-and-white geometric designs painted on the sides.

The Importance of Music and Dance in the Aztec Culture

As with art, Aztec music and dance were both performed to please the gods. It was not done for entertainment or to show off knowledge or skill. In fact, the Aztec culture and religion tied music and dance into its daily life and ceremonies. Certain musical instruments used in the Aztec culture were considered to be holy and mistakes made while playing the instruments were thought to be offensive to the gods. The music was generally used to accompany Aztec dance, which was considered to be a prayer-like ritual. It also expressed political, social, and cultural issues.

Replica of an Aztec statue

Replica of an Aztec statue

The Importance of Tattoos in Aztec Culture

Tattoos also played an important role in the Aztec culture. As with art and music, Aztec tattoos were used in rituals, particularly those dedicated to Uitzilopochtle. As a part of these rituals, a priest would use a pointed stone to draw symbols on the stomach, chest, and wrist of children. In the Aztec culture, these symbols were intended to show the children’s devotion to the god. Each Aztec tattoo design was specifically chosen for its symbolism or relation to a god.


The Aztec culture was deeply involved and intricate. Craftsmen played an important role in Aztec culture, as they were highly skilled and used to show their devotion and reverence for their powerful, and sometimes cruel, gods.