About Nahuatl Culture
The Nahuatl Culture is a very ancient native group which is still present in the modern central America. The Nahuatl people were very spiritual and in ancient times offered sacrifice to their gods. The Nahuatl culture had a very big change after the European people conquered Central America and forbid and destroyed almost all their beliefs and cultural, religious and spiritual activities. The word Nahuatl which is divided in nahua-tl which means ''clear sound or pleasant'' and tlahtol-li means '' tongue or language.The Nahuatl people developed before the Aztecs. A lot of their gods were lost with the invasion of the European people but here in Mexico you still find parts of their roots. The Nahuatl is a Yuto-Aztec language spoken in Mexico and Central America.
The Nahuatl is a native language and Mexico has approximately one and a half million. The majority of the speakers of the language, are bilingual with Spanish as their second language. It's estimated that the first Nahuatl words which started the beginning of the Nahuatl language were spoken 5,000 years ago. The Yute is the mother language of the Nahuatl and it has approximately the age of the Indo-European family of languages. Also, its possible that the language is related to the Kiowa family of the United States and Canada.
The Yutonahua, Nahuatl or Nahua are the southernmost living families of this language root.The Nahuatl language is spoken in Mexico, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The regions here with the most Nahuatl speaking people are State of Mexico- D.F., Puebla, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Durango, Morelos, Tlaxcala, San Luis Potosí, Michoacán, Jalisco and others. The majority of the Nahuatl speaking people live in Mexico (1.600.000), United States (200.000), El Salvador (20.000) and Guatemala with (800) People. The Nahuatl language is a relative to the Caracol families which are Cora, Huichol, Pimana, Papago, Tepehuano, Tarahumara and Yaqui. The Nahuatl is very closely related to the Pochuteco which has disappeared.
Nahuatl Pre-Hispanic art: The art of Nahuatl speaking cultures in the times before the Spaniards included dances, music and poetry. These 3 things were indispensable for the Nahuatl culture. But they also did jewelery with jade or other stones, crystals or shells. Besides, they did ceramics and clay work but they are also very famous for their colorful paintings where they represented their culture and activities. Thanks to some existing codex and their chronics we know that they have used several instruments for their music like flutes, trumpets, shells, shakers of shells and seeds, drums like the Teponaztli and Huehuetl and many more.
Also the Nahuatl culture is well known for their impressive masks, head ornaments and typical costumes. They used big and colorful feathers from several types of birds which were living in the central American area. Basically they did their art out of things which they had in their environment using part from animals, stones, shells, seeds and other things.
There are a lot of things which were invented by Nahuatl native groups which we still appreciate and practice now in this time here in Mexico and worldwide, for example the music, dances, paintings, sculpture, ceramics and folklore. Also there are many gastronomical supplies which they gave to the world like the corn, tobacco, beans, cacao, the green and red tomato, the Tuna (cactus prickly pear), the avocado, the pineapple, peanuts, maguey, agave, mamey, papaya, jicama, yuca, chile and even chewing gum.
Modern Nahuatl art: In Mexico we still have a lot of the native Nahuatl group, in many states of our country you will find their presence and also their modern art. They are well known for their beautiful sculptures, textile art, woodcarving, jewelery, ceramic art, paintings, hand crafted and hand painted wood, ceramics, resin products and musical instruments.
In different states you will find different art types from the Nahuatl culture. They still use material from their environment to make several art products, for example in the states where they plant the cotton you will find the most variety of Nahuatl textile art products or from the coast of Guerrero where we have the famous hand painted coconut masks. From the Center of the country comes the most work of woodcarving, pottery and ceramics art .