Published Date

May 1, 2004

Resource Type

Primary Source

This resource was developed in 2004 as part of “The Conquest of Mexico” by Nancy Fitch.


Image from El Lienza de Tlaxcala (Tlaxcalan)

There are several things to note in this image. The serpent and flames at the top of the temple may be a reference to Xiutecuhtli, the Mexica fire-serpant and god of war. In any case, the flames are a common signifier of defeat. The Cholulan falling from the roof is symbolic of his committing suicide. Dismembered bodies are symbols of death and defeat. The Indians attacking the Cholulans are Tlaxcalans. Note the prominence of Malinche, who almost seems to be directing the attack.

Step One

Make some observations about what is included in the image:

  • Who can you identify?
  • Where are they located in the image?
  • How are they dressed?
  • What kind of military action do you see?
  • What is the center of this image?

Step Two

Ask yourself some questions about what you see in the image:

  • What is the story being told in this image?
  • What are the similarities between this story and what you just read on the previous page?
  • What are the differences between this story and what you just read?
  • How do you account for the differences in the various stories?

Step Three

Write your own interpretation of what you think happened at Cholula based on the evidence.