FIGURE 11. Slaughtered warriors with closed eyes, from Cell 51 of the Lienzo de Tlaxcala.
FIGURE 12. Mortuary bundles from folio 14r (left) and 15v (right) of the Matrícula de Tributos.
Postclassic Mesoamerican artists used two basic conventions for representing the dead. One was simply to draw a person with their eyes closed—and, indeed, many of the slaughtered warriors that fill the cells of the Lienzo de Tlaxcala are shown with their eyes shut (Figure 11). A second convention was to draw the dead as mortuary bundles: seated with their knees bent before them, wrapped head to foot in white cloth, and tied up with ropes. Two such mortuary bundles appear in the MatríÂcula de Tributos, as part of place signs for Micltanquauhtla (Forest at the Place of the Dead) and Mictlan (Where there are Many Dead)(Figure 12). Aztec nobles seem to have been cremated, but we think that most people in Central Mexican society were buried in the ground. In both cases, however, their bodies were first prepared as bundles before other rites were performed.12
12 On the bundling, then cremation, of Aztec nobles, see Codex Magliabechiano folios 65v-69r (Boone 1983). On Central Mexican burial practices in general, see Smith 2003, 206-211.