Museum Collections - Mesoamerica - Toltec

Toltec stone carving

The Toltec culture flourished during the Early Postclassic Period, from A.D. 900 - 1200. The Toltec people migrated from northern Mexico and established an empire in the Central Valley during the 10th century A.D. The arrival of the Toltec marked the rise of increased militarism in Mesoamerica, as they dominated their neighbours with superior military force.

The Toltec, who sought to stake their ascendancy on the entire region, invaded the Postclassic 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. The image on the left is a stone carving of a Toltec warrior from the Temple of the Warriors at Chichén Itzá. 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.

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Thumbnail Link to Toltec Artifact 1 catalogue page