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Typical Aztec sacrIfice, using a tecpatl

The Tecpatl was a sacrificial knife used by the Aztecs. It was the Short-Range weapon of the Aztec Jaguar.


The Tecpatl consisted of a double-sided obsidian blade attached to a short wooden handle. Chert and flint stones could be used as obsidian substitutes. In more ceremonial examples, the handle would be intricately carved.


The Tecpatl was primarily used for human sacrifice, an important part of Aztec society which essentially forced them to constantly wage war on surrounding peoples and take them prisoner. These series of wars were ironically called 'The War of the Flowers' and were designed to be virtually endless to maintain a constant supply of sacrifices for the gods. Aztec warriors would attempt to capture their opponents whenever possible, keeping them alive for the sacrifice or enslavement. It was considered clumsy or insulting for a Jaguar Warrior to kill an enemy. To become a Jaguar Warrior: an Aztec needed to capture 4 enemies alive. If someone captured 20 men, they would be promoted to a Shorn One: the highest rank. At the ceremony of the sacrifice the victim's heart would be ripped out while still beating and then either thrown into a fire or fed to a caged jaguar. The corpse would be decapitated and have its head roll down the pyramid. If the victim was famous or important, they would keep the body intact and carry it down as a sign of respect.

Although it may have only seen limited use on the battlefield, it's sharp edges would have made it an effective sidearm.


  • 10 inches
  • 8 oz
  • Obsidian & bone