Tlaltecuhtli, “Lord of Earth”, could be represented under the female or male form, generally in a peculiar position that has been compared to that of a toad, or with the one adopted by women when giving birth. Its image was represented in bas-relief, generally at the bottom part or at the base of a bigger sculpture, as in the case of Coatlicue. In other occasions, its monstrous image appears barely delineated in the interior or at the base of boxes or in the top part of seats or stone thrones. Therefore, this piece constitutes an exceptional item, since it is the only representation in bulk of Tlaltecuhtli that is known in the Mexica art. The deity was represented seated crossed-leg and with claws and face upwards. It seems to be about to devour dead human beings and the Sun that, metaphorically, return to the interior of the land by going into the body of the monster.The piece was found in 1968 during the excavations for the construction of the Metro system and when it was found it was called “Coatlicue of the subway”, based on the necklace of hearts and hands with which the deity is dressed. This necklace is similar to the one that the Coatlicue represented in the famous monumental sculpture exhibited inside the Mexica Hall of this museum carries.Arqlga. Bertina Olmedo Vera


  • Title: Tlaltecuhtli
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: 1250/1500
  • Physical Location: México
  • Physical Dimensions: w550 x h930 x d380 cm (complete)
  • Period: Posclásico Tardío (1250-1521 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: Basalto

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