Coyolxauhqui’s Serpents

Author(s): Elizabeth Aguilera; Emily Umberger

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Animal Symbolism in Postclassic Mesoamerica: Papers in Honor of Cecelia Klein" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

This study focuses on questions about serpents and gender associations in Aztec art--questions raised by a ceramic fragment located in storage in the Brooklyn Museum. On it Coyolxauhqui, the enemy of the Aztecs’ supernatural patron, Huitzilopochtli, is depicted with two different types of imaginary serpents, a serpent belt like those worn by fertility goddesses, but double-headed (maquixcoatl), and a fire serpent (xiuhcoatl) solar dart, piercing her torso, having been launched by her male rival. The juxtaposition of the two snakes in this image brings up questions about gender associations. In addition to examining serpents on different female images, e.g. the single-headed serpents on amacalli goddesses and the blood serpents on Coatlicue, we will look at others in sculpture—rattlesnakes, water snakes, feathered serpents, etc.

Cite this Record

Coyolxauhqui’s Serpents. Elizabeth Aguilera, Emily Umberger. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451665)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 18.48 ; max long: -94.087; max lat: 23.161 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23023