fig. 52 Founding of Mexico City
Tony de Vargas, Vidal Aguirre, Felipe Adame.

........The painting on the ceiling of the kiosk illustrates the foundation myth of Tenochtitlan/Mexico City. The Founding of Mexico City (Fig. 52) presents three hunters along a lake shore, engaged by the presence of an eagle with one talon supporting its body upon a cactus while the other talon grasps a snake. According to tradition, the Mexica were to search for an island within the lake where they would find an eagle perched upon a cactus devouring a serpent. This was to be their home, Tenochtitlan, "'place of the Cactus' (Tenochtli)--or more precisely 'place of the fruit of the cactus." The founding of Tenochtitlan and the humble beginnings of the Aztec empire date to 1345.
........An Aztec representation of the foundation myth is located on the back panel of the Temple of Sacred Warfare/Teocalli de la Guerra Sagrada, a stone monument which commemorated the New Fire Ceremony of 1507. An eagle is perched upon a cactus, holding in its mouth the Aztec glyph for Water-Fire - Steam rather than a serpent. The glyph is a metaphor for war and "was usually placed in front of the mouths of figures as if it were a form of speech, song, or exclamation. "
........ A post-conquest manuscript, the Codex Mendoza, illustrates the foundation myth on one of its seventy-two pages painted in 1541-1542. The emblem for Tenochtitlan, the eagle upon the cactus, is in the center of the upper square, with blue framing and diagonal elements representing the canals which connected the four sections of the city.
........ The pre- and post-conquest examples of the foundation myth have been presented to illustrate and emphasize the continuous threads of Mexican history as the basis for contemporary Chicano icons.