A Tajín Deity Associated with Decapitation Sacrifice

Author(s): Rex Koontz

Year: 2018


This presentation investigates the narrative context of a Tajín region deity whose diagnostic characteristics include a large hank of hair and an extended upper lip.

The figure appears in narrative scenes with the major Tajín deities, often playing what seems to be a subsidiary role. The most important association in these scenes is with a liquid-filled temple that plays a key role scenes of ballcourt ritual. The same deity appears in pars pro toto representations of sacrificial scenes with numerous figures from the Tajín court. Finally, the deity also appears in a complex aquatic scene on a portable sculpture.

Certain consistencies in the imagery across narrative contexts and media suggest that this figure embodies the fruit of particularly important decapitation sacrifices. The depiction of decapitation sacrifice as a supernatural suggests that Tajín participates in the "animate head" symbolics that have been identified for large areas of the Americas, as described by Gillespie and others.

Cite this Record

A Tajín Deity Associated with Decapitation Sacrifice. Rex Koontz. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443739)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -98.987; min lat: 17.77 ; max long: -86.858; max lat: 25.839 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20473