The Birth of Ehecatl: The Cultural Origins of the Avian Wind God OF Central Mexico
Author(s): Karl Taube
One of the most striking deities of the Aztec pantheon is Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, a duck-billed being embodying such ethereal concepts as rain-bringing wind and the breath of life. He is in jarring contrast to Quetzalcoatl, who although embodying the same concepts of wind, is a quetzal-plumed rattlesnake in Aztec thought. This study argues that in contrast to the plumed serpent, Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl constitutes a relatively recent introduction of an avian wind deity from eastern Mesoamerica into Central Mexico during the Postclassic period. Similar duck-billed human figures appear as early as the Early Formative in coastal Chiapas, and continue in Middle Formative Olmec and Late Formative Isthmian and Maya iconography, including the Tuxtla Statuette and the West Wall mural at San Bartolo. For the Late Classic Maya, there is explicit epigraphic and iconographic evidence of a duck-billed wind deity, and in striking contrast, such a being is completely unknown in the rich corpus of documented imagery from Teotihuacan, Cacaxtla, Xochicalco and other sites of Classic Central Mexico. I will note that the Initial Series Group at Chichen Itza provides a remarkably detailed corpus pertaining to this wind deity during the Early Postclassic, quite probably when this being was introduced into highland Mexico.
SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit http://www.tdar.org/SAA2015 for instructions and more information.
Cite this Record
The Birth of Ehecatl: The Cultural Origins of the Avian Wind God OF Central Mexico. Karl Taube. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395706)
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;