General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 19 Sep 2017/8 Reed
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The wind god’s fan

ORIGINAL QUESTION received from - and thanks to - Jan Paul: Hi, absolutely love your website! I believe you’re the right people for this question. I would like to know the meaning of a symbol in different places of the Codex Fejervary-Mayer. For example on folio 35 top right, there is an Ehecatl person. In one hand he carries an incense burner, but what is the round object on a stick at the right? I really would appreciate to find out. Thanks in advance, warm regards, Jan Paul. (Answered by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

Folio 35 of the Codex Féjérvary-Mayer (original in the World Museum Liverpool)
Folio 35 of the Codex Féjérvary-Mayer (original in the World Museum Liverpool) (Click on image to enlarge)

It’s a fan! In Náhuatl it’s called an ehecacehuaztli, derived from two root nouns, eheca[tl] (wind) and huaztli (stick) - so literally a ‘wind stick’ (makes sense!)

In fact, in this image - which shows the wind god Ehécatl as the first of the six ‘sky walker’ deities, he bears a fan in his left hand and in his right he bears, not an incense burner exactly but a burning rubber ball offering - typically associated with rituals to do with the priesthood (the wind god was directly connected to the great creator deity Quetzalcóatl, one of whose main responsibilities was as patron god of priests).

Incidentally, the Codex F-M is probably of Mixteca-Puebla origin rather than Mexica (Aztec), and some scholars are now giving it a name tied more closely to its Mexican roots (rather than to two European collector/benefactors): this new name is Tonalamatl de los pochtecas (‘Book of Fates of the Merchants’).

Scanned from our copy of the ADEVA/Graz facsimile edition (1971)

Study the... WIND GOD

World Museum Liverpool: Codex Fejérváry-Mayer webpage