Ancient Mesoamerican Rain Cloud Iconography and Early Rain Entities

Author(s): Stephanie Lozano

Year: 2023


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2023: Individual Abstracts" session, at the 88th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Cloud iconography has been present on Mesoamerican material culture since the Formative Period and often appears with iconography that is associated with water rituals and rain entities. This paper will present new perspectives on the relationships between ancient Mesoamerican rain deities through a study of rain cloud iconography. I trace the appearance of rain cloud imagery from the Formative period to the Classic Period focusing on early Mesoamerican rain gods. Previous scholars (Taube 2009) have noted that clouds emerge from the heads of Preclassic Maya rain gods. In addition, I suggest that cloud imagery can also be seen emerging from different parts of the face of early Mesoamerican rain deities. For example, I propose that early Maya and Zapotec rain entities have rain clouds emerging from their eyebrows. Moreover, I posit that the Teotihuacan Tlaloc’s bigotera, a mustache like element, was a rain cloud scroll influence from Preclassic Maya rain gods. I also point out the striking similarities of cloud iconography at Teotihuacan with the Teotihuacan Tlaloc’s bigotera. Finally, I propose that the Late Postclassic Mexica Tlaloc is shown wearing the Nahuatl cloud glyph, mixtli, as the bigotera.

Cite this Record

Ancient Mesoamerican Rain Cloud Iconography and Early Rain Entities. Stephanie Lozano. Presented at The 88th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. 2023 ( tDAR id: 474954)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 37299.0