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Cihuateotl (Central Veracruz)

Cihuateotl figure from Central Veracruz

Cihuateotl ceramic sculpture from Central Veracruz (Río Blanco-Papaloapan culture), c. 600-900 CE, height 1.4 metres, Xalapa Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.

This sculpture represents a woman who died in childbirth and who wears a belt and earhoops. This piece still retains its original colour. Life-size sculptures of women are a typical feature of the cultures of Central Veracruz. The one we see here, naked from the waist up, wears a necklace of shells forming a bicephalous [double-headed] blue serpent and a tangle with parallel stripes tied to a bundle of shells, and over this, a blue cord knotted at the front. The tangle is white and has a red circle painted on it. The woman wears, in addition, earhoops and bracelets of shells. This female individual, dead upon giving birth, has her mouth open and eyes closed, symbols of a death that not only deified her but also gave her the right to accompany the Sun, which may be represented by the red circle painted on the woman’s skirt.

From Xalapa Museum of Anthropology - a Guided Tour, text by Rubén Morante López, Gobierno del Estado de Veracruz/Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, 2004, p. 146.

Photo by Karel Baresh/Mexicolore.

Aztec Cihuateotl stone figure (1)

Aztec Cihuateotl stone figure (2)