Drawings of the Aztec World, Plants of the Aztec World
Imagine the many plants that populated the Aztec empire – its cities, courtyards, and countryside. Flora and fauna had deep meaning in the lives of the Aztecs: flower gardens were ubiquitous; large sculptures of plants abounded; and plants were used to make fibers for a variety of items, both utilitarian and artistic. While much of this beauty was lost in the Spanish conquest of what is now Mexico, artists Scott and Stuart Gentling created a folio imagining the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlán, and its plant life prior to 1519. Scott Gentling’s finely detailed drawings are grounded in decades of research and comprise The One Reed Year folio, a collection of historical interpretations of the Aztec capital in visual form.
A selection of these prints invite viewers to visualize what the Aztec confederacy might have looked like before the Spanish Conquest of 1519. Accompanying the drawings is a selection of specimens from the BRIT Herbarium of fiber plants commonly used by the Aztecs, as well as items made from these plants.
This exhibition is part of a cross-institutional collaboration between FWBG I BRIT and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and runs concurrently with the Carter exhibition, Imagined Realism: Scott and Stuart Gentling, on view September 25, 2021 – January 9, 2022. The One Reed Year folio has been generously loaned to the FWBG I BRIT Library by the Carter.
Image: Scott Gentling, The One Reed Year, selection, courtesy Amon Carter Museum of American Art