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Head of the god Xochipilli

Aztec Stone head of the god Xochipilli

Head of the god Xochipilli, Mexica/Aztec, volcanic stone, height 23.5 cms., c. 1500 CE, Weltmuseum, Vienna

This head has been broken off a sitting figure. It has a hairline visible from the side and is adorned with pearl necklaces, earrings and tubular nose jewellery. The eyes were originally inlaid with gemstones. It gazes out of the gaping beak of a bird. Parts of the beak are still present at the top and bottom. The feather comb has partly broken away. A rosette with three hanging ribbons is attached to each side of the bird’s head. On the right side [shown here] is the representation of a heart, similar to the ‘Heart of Copal’ in the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City and referring to the heart sacrifices that nourished the gods and the sun. Xochipilli was a young sun god; in addition to music, dance and games, he was associated with the nobility, flowers and corn.

From Aztecs, eds. Doris Kurella, Martin Berger and Inés de Castro, with INAH, Mexico - catalogue for the exhibition Azteken, Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Hirmer Publishers, Germany, 2019, p. 331.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore.