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Censer

Aztec/Mexica censer

Censer, Aztec/Mexica, fired clay and paint, length 61 cms, Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City.

This censer is one of the eight ritual objects that were recovered unbroken [from a major cache found in 1910 in Mexico City, distinguished by the strong links between the ceramic objects, all of which have devotional and symbolic characteristics. Stylistically, they correspond to the polychrome ceramic tradition of the ‘international style’.]
The incense bowl bears the image of the rain god Tlaloc, identifiable by the six curved fangs emerging from his jaws. His face resembles a mask, with a nose-plug typical of warriors and the ear-spool in the form of a sectioned femur similar to those found on images of Mictlantecuhtli, the god of death. The long handle bears a solar ray, along with feathers and a paper knot, and the head at the end has been identified as a Tlacatecolotl, or owl man.


Adapted from ‘Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler’, British Museum Catalogue, 2009, p. 154

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore

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