Together with the Sun Stone, the Coatlicue is another representative piece of the National Museum of Anthropology. It is a colossal work, not only for its size, but for manufacture and symbolism.Coatlicue was the goddess of the land, mother of Huitzilopochtli, Coyolyauhqui and the Centzonhuitznahua (the four hundred stars of the south). The myth tells that Coatlicue was sweeping the top of the Coatepetl hill, when a ball of white feathers fell down from the sky; she kept it in her chest and was miraculously pregnant of Huitzilopochtli. The story tells that Coyolxauhqui and the rest of her brothers, angry at the mysterious conception of their mother decided to kill her. When they were preparing to do it, Huitzilopochtli was born, with all his warrior attire, carrying the chimalli and the xiuhcoatl (serpent of fire) arm he uses to destroy his) brothers and kill his sister beheading her and throwing her from the top of the Coatepetl being completely dismembered. This myth created by the Mexicas to legitimize their own patron god, narrates the birth of the new sun, which will rule in the new world.The sculpture stands out for its detail and the great quantity of symbols that it has. The head is formed by two snakes that meet face to face. She has a heart and cut hands necklace. The breast is saggy which associate it with an old woman. The skirt is elaborated with the bodies interlaced of rattlesnakes (hence the name of the goddess: “The one in the skirt of snakes”). The low extremities are eagle claws; in fact to the sides bird feathers can be seen. The bottom part of the sculpture is engraved with the image of Tlaltecuhtli.Mtro. Hugo García Capistrán


  • Title: Coatlicue
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: 1325/1521
  • Physical Location: México
  • Physical Dimensions: w1300 x h3500 x d1300 cm (complete)
  • Period: Posclásico Tardío (1325-1521 d.C.)
  • Centro Histórico, Ciudad de México: Mexica
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia., INAH. Proyecto de Digitalización de las Colecciones Arqueológicas del Museo Nacional de Antropología. CONACULTA-CANON-MNA.
  • External Link: http://www.mna.inah.gob.mx
  • Medium: Andesita

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