Double Headed Serpent Aztec Art Sculpture Relief plaque – Reproduction of Original from the British Museum, London. 15th century. Splendid relic of the Aztecs, who rose from squalid origins to power and riches in just 200 years, this double-headed rattlesnake serpent was used as a ceremonial chest ornament that may have been worn by a priest. It is encrusted with scales of turquoise, a stone the Aztecs imported from the outposts of their empire to adorn some of their most beautiful possessions. This piece is the work of a Mixtec jeweler, and dates from the 15th century. Mixtec craftsmanship was highly prized; an entire enclave of artisans from this culture lived in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. In Mesoamerican culture, serpents were very important religious symbols, the shedding of their skin made them a symbol of rebirth and renewal. One of the main Mesoamerican deities, Quetzalcoatl, was represented as a feathered serpent.