Original size is 3489 × 2924 pixels

Carlos Colín

Embroidery on unbleached cotton

45″ x 35.5″ (114 x 90cm)


Tzompantli means “skull rack”; it is a wall full of heads and skulls composed of war captives and/or immolated humans after sacrifices. The sacrifice-death concept in pre-Hispanic cultures was a connection and association with the world where we live and beyond. The Mexicans’ rituals in combination with the Spaniard’s Christian interpretations of sacrifice created a new conception about what death meant and continues to mean: a violent corporal punishment. The concept of sacrifice has been transformed by violence in our neoliberal context, one that implicates destruction of lives and communities in order to attain a false notion of “progress” and a “modern state”. “Cloth With Tzompantli Ornaments” depicts how violence and punishment disturb and alter our conception about what death means, and how we were forced to wear the cloth and its whole bargain of death and national devastation.