Xiuhtecuhtli, “Lord of the Year” or “Lord of the Turquoises”, god of the fire and of the dominion, was one of the most important Gods in the Mexica pantheon and its worship was wide extended in all the Central Mexico during the late postclassic period. This figure of a young man dressed with a loincloth, sandals and bangles with bells has been identified as the image or ixiptla of this god, due to the fact that it carries on its back its characteristic emblem, the xiuhcóatl or “snake of turquoises”. This fantastic snake, whose tail was the only part represented here as a synecdoche, was Huitzilopochtli’s weapon and nahual of Xiuhtecuhtli. When it is shown completely, we can see that it was a snake with small arms and sharp claws, long snout curved backwards position and decorated with circles resembling beads, and a tail formed by the combination of a trapezium and a ray that constitutes the glyph of the year. Several pictographs represent the image of Xiuhtecuhtli carrying the xiuhcóatl as an emblem tied to the back, as it is represented in this beautiful sculpture decorated with seashell and obsidian inlays to represent the eyes, and with small holes in the head in which yellow, like fire, hair locks were inserted, just as the historical sources describe it. The back of the head is carved the sign “4 cipactli”.Arqlga. Bertina Olmedo Vera


  • Title: Xiuhtecuhtli de Cozcatlan
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: 1250/1500
  • Physical Location: México
  • Physical Dimensions: w360 x h1110 x d300 cm (complete)
  • Period: Posclásico Tardío (1250-1521 d.C.)
  • Altiplano Central, Coxcatlán, Tehuacán Puebla: 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: Piedra, Concha, Chapopote y Obsidiana

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