Water Deposit

Water Deposit at the Imperial Colegio de la Santa Cruz de Santiago Tlatelolco (Imperial College of the Saint Cross at Santiago Tlatelolco)

The Imperial Colegio de la Santa Cruz de Santiago Tlatelolco was inaugurated in January 6th 1536. Important intellectuals such as Pedro de Gante, Arnaldo Basaccio, Jacobo de Testera and Antonio Valeriano taught there, standing out the work of Andres de Olmos and Bernardino de Sahagun.

It is probable that the Water Deposit might have been constructed shortly after the Mexica defeat and inaugurated at the same time as the College; it provided drinking water to the Republic of Indians of Santiago Tlatelolco.

The best virtue of the deposit creators was to conceive a tank for water in constant movement that coexisted in harmony with the pictorial discourse that represented the quotidian life of inhabitants of the terrain near the lakes.

Mural paintings were distributed in the northern, western and southern walls, around the water mirror.

The place where paintings’ raise allows determining that water ran through the steps and the floor as a thin curtain that might have recovered spills of those who entered it to pick up water from the first continent. This means that users went into the tank, stepped down and got immerse, surrounded by the paintings.

The center of the western wall is dominated by 9 red stones. To the right, a fisherman is represented as well as bulrushes and an ahuizotl (doglike mythic creature) crunching, watching a small fish.


The hips and legs of another fishing character follow; behind him, another fisherman holds a conic net and the stick used to catch 3 fishes. A female heron that holds a fish in the beak next to a big plant is at the end of this scene.

The southern wall’s scene begins with the image of an eagle standing on a Maya blue-colored plant, which comes out from the back of a jaguar that walks on the water. Under his claws, between the swirls, some fishes can be observed.

The jaguar used to have 2 faces, one looking to the north, which was erased using red color, and the visible one, seen from the side, has the tongue extended.

The second segment shows a fisherman that has a basket on his back. His pants are folded up past the knee, his feet inside the water, where a big fish swims towards the east. A plant with the root in the shape of a hand is between his legs.

In the oriental part of the southern wall, there is a canoe where a character extends his rod to the west, with a frog on the hook. Under the frog, a shell walks between the roots of plants and water lilies.

In the western area of the same wall, a male heron was depicted, with a fish in the beak, and under its feet, another fish is emerging from a twirl.

At the first segment of the northern wall, there is only a frieze with water motives. On the second part, there is a duck hunter standing inside his canoe. With his left hand he holds the paddle; the left one throws the minacachalli, a 3 points-harpoon. There is a duck on the bow and another between the bulrushes.

The third part of the northern wall was designed to integrate the access staircase. A fisherman with short pants is standing between 2 plants. He has a conic net and a basket to store the fishes. 
Behind him, there is a rattlesnake devouring a frog, and there are fishes in the water swirls.



Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas esq. Flores Magón, Nonoalco, Tlatelolco; Ciudad de México, C.P. 06900

Teléfono 57-82-22-40 y 55-83-02-95