General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 19 Sep 2017/8 Reed
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Aztec fertility goddess

Aztec fertility goddess wooden figurine

Mexica fertility goddess; cedarwood & white shell. National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

This figure is a rare survival from pre-Hispanic times.

’Offerings of candles, maize cobs, bottles of brandy and animal sacrifices were still being made to this figure when it was discovered in the 19th century in a cave in a remote region south-west of the Toluca Valley in Veracruz. Easy to carve and transport, wooden figures of deities, known generally as cuauhximalli, must have been very numerous in pre-Hispanic times, but most were subsequently burned by the Spanish authorities or were exposed to the effects of weather and/or insect attack. Here the goddess is shown as a young woman supporting her full breasts, emphasizing her role as a mother bringing nourishment to humankind. She wears her hair in a plait, showing her status as a married woman. Remains of the shell inlays for her eyes and teeth can still be seen.’

Adapted from ‘Aztecs’ (Royal Academy of Arts exhibition catalogue, London, 2002), p.411.

Photo by Ana Laura Landa/Mexicolore