Xipe Totec - "Our Flayed Lord"

Unknownca. 1500 CE

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Xipe Totec, depicted clad in flayed skin, is the Aztec god of spring and blossoming – attributes that contrast sharply with the horrifying ritual associated with him. Just as the snake was thought to be reborn after shedding its skin, Xipe Totec's scalelike outer layer represents renewal. In the ancient rite, a man who had been sacrificed was flayed and his skin put on the god's statue. As with a seed, the outer covering falls off so that the kernel can be free to grow, a promise of fertility symbolizing both death and revival.

Credit: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Maremont, Chicago, to American Friends of the Israel Museum

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  • Title: Xipe Totec - "Our Flayed Lord"
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: ca. 1500 CE
  • Location: Aztec, Puebla, Mexico
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
  • External Link: Israel Museum, Jerusalem
  • Medium: Clay, red and yellow pigment
  • Dimensions: H: 129; W: 46; D: 40 cm