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Mictlantecuhtli (2)

Statue of Mictlantecuhtli Aztec god of the underworld Templo Mayor Museum

Statue of Mictlantecuhtli, ceramic, with pigments, Mexica (Aztec), Late Period (1430-1502 CE), height 176 cms., Museo del Templo Mayor, Mexico City, found in the ‘House of Eagles’.

Mictlantecuhtli is the Lord of the Underworld, the Realm of the Dead, and the ancestors. His liver and gall bladder hang under his chest. Ihíyotl, “the sacred breath”, dwelt within the liver. This was one of the three souls that all humans possessed; the other two were located in the heart and in the head.
The figure had shattered in hundreds of pieces when it was discovered. It took five months to excavate it; the restoration work took almost a year. It weighs 128 kilograms and is one of the most outstanding examples of the skill of Aztec artists.


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. 338.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore.

Our other entry on Mictlantecuhtli