Top Ten Toltec Artifacts

Top Ten Toltec Artifacts


       The Toltec culture flourished during the Early Post-classic Period, from 900-1200 AD. The Toltec people migrated from northern Mexico and established an empire in the Central Valley during the 10th century AD. The arrival of the Toltec marked the rise of increased militarism in Mesoamerica, as they dominated their neighbors with superior military force. The Toltec, who sought to stake their ascendancy on the entire region, invaded the Post-classic Maya city of Chichén Itzá, in the Yucatán. Here we see a synthesis of Toltec and Maya art and architecture suggesting a hybridization of both cultures. This temple was a larger and more impressive replica of a structure from the Toltec capital at Tula (north of modern-day Mexico City). By the 12th century, the Toltec empire began to decline. The Central Valley was eventually invaded by numerous peoples, who ultimately sacked their capital.

  1. Warrior Statues

    Links: Sculptures,
  2. Sitting Sculpture

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  3. Orange Clay Vessel

    Links: Top 100 Busts,
  4. Warrior Carving

           This stone carving is of a Toltec Warrior from the Temple of the Warriors at Chichén Itzá.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 North American Sculptures,
  5. Effigy Vessel Depicting a Kneeling Warrior (900–1200 AD)

           This is an effigy vessel depicting a kneeling warrior. The artistic output of the Toltec suggests something of a fascination with the image of the Toltec warrior. Warriors were commonly presented, as seen here, with the flat-topped pill-box hat, and military weaponry. Vessels such as these are called “Plumbate wares” because their high gloss (a product of the slip and the firing techniques used) resembles a lead oxide, or Plumbate glaze. True glaze decorations were not present in the Americas until the arrival of European colonists in the 16th century.
  6. Links: Artifacts, Top 100 North American Artifacts, Top 100 Symbols,,