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Incense burner with Chicomecoatl

Aztec incense burner with Chicomecoatl

Mexica (Aztec) incense burner with Chicomecoatl, from Tlahuac, Mexico City, c. 1325-1521, terracotta and pigment, height 105 cms., National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

’Incense burners conveyed messages to the gods on the smoke of burning copal, an aromatic pine resin. Applied as mold-made elements, the attributes of the deity adorning the front of the censer identify the spirit force to which prayers are to be directed. In the Florentine Codex, Chicomecoatl was compared by Sahagún and his Nahua collaborators with the Roman goddess Ceres. Both were the focus of their society’s principal agricultural cults, maize for the Aztecs and wheat for the Romans. Chicomecoatl’s name is a calendrical date marking her birth and feast day of Seven Snake.’

From The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire by John M. D. Pohl and Claire L. Lyons, Getty Publications, Los Angeles, 2010, p. 42.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore.

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