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The Personification of Sacrificial Fire: An Undescribed Deity in Imperial Mexica Sculpture

Author(s): Angel González López ; Andrew D. Turner

Year: 2017

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A recurring theme in H.B. Nicholson’s groundbreaking analysis of Central Mexican deities is the application of a holistic approach to the analysis of Mexica stone sculpture, which includes visual and iconographic analysis, and comparison to early colonial texts. This paper will analyze a poorly understood deity that appears in late Mexica stone sculpture based on Nicholson’s innovative methodology. This fanged being appears only in stone sculpture from the imperial capital, and has previously been interpreted as an earth goddess, Tlaltecuhtli, or the fire god, Xiuhtecuhtli. We argue that this deity is indeed a being of fire and earth, although not the aforementioned deities. Rather, this deity appears as a personified brazier and as a burning bundle of wood, and was likely associated with cremation, sacrifice, and fire ceremonies.

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The Personification of Sacrificial Fire: An Undescribed Deity in Imperial Mexica Sculpture. Angel González López, Andrew D. Turner. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431149)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16272

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America