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from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A sacrificial knife, a broad double-edged blade, usually of flint, sometimes of obsidian, used by the Aztecs of Mexico.


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  • n. A sacrificial knife used by the Aztecs of Mexico.

    The knife was usually made of flint, sometimes of obsidian with a lanceolate figure and a double-edged blade, with elongated ends. Both ends could be rounded or pointed, but other designs were made with a blade attached to a handle. The top half was often red, reminiscent of the color of blood, in representations of human sacrifice and the rest white, indicating the color of the flint blade.

    Even though the tecpatl knife was traditionally used for human sacrifice, it also was the short-range weapon of the jaguar warriors. Although it may have seen only limited use on the battlefield, its sharp edges would have made it an effective sidearm.

    June 29, 2015