Aesthetic choices

You may have realized by now that your cursor has been replaced by a strange little picture. That picture is of an Aztec “tecpatl,” or a ceremonial flint knife blade. This blade would have been placed into an ornamental handle and used in an Aztec heart sacrifice ritual. Although this blade bears an inlaid face, most regular flint blades were unadorned.

You may have also realized that when you click anywhere on the website, small blood droplets go flying everywhere. This is also intentional, both because it is fun and because I wanted the viewer to be reminded constantly of the subject of the website.

Each time you use your tecpatl to click, you can allow the animation to remind you of how an Aztec priest used a tecpatl very similar to the one shown in the photo to make an incision on the abdomen of a sacrificial victim 500 years ago.

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img credit:; Simon Burchell,

Above are examples of a tecpatl blade and of a tecpatl with its decorative handle.

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