These ceremonial knives were perhaps used by Aztec priests to perform human sacrifices. Priests laid the victim’s body (often a captive warrior) over a stone slab and cut open his abdomen with a horizontal incision to remove his heart, which they gave to the gods as an offering. Obsidian, or volcanic glass, is extremely hard and used in surgical instruments today.
Obsidian and wood
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cedric H. Marks
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"I still remember the feeling of awe and disbelief when I was alone and walked in the room with those casts." --Ruth Tofle, chair of architecture, winner of the 2013 distinguished faculty award from the MU Alumni Association