General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 18 Apr 2021/2 Flower
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Twins, Xalapa Museum of Anthropology

Superstitious? (7)

No. 7 in our series on Mexica (Aztec) superstitions. This one relates to the hugely symbolic subject of twins - believed by many in ancient Mesoamerica to possess superhuman power... (Compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

‘Twins seem to share a life force, and the Mexica said that they divided a tonalli between them. Because each twin lacked a full share of heat, they disturbed the natural world and human activities by drawing off warmth. If they came near a steamboat, it would not heat properly, nor would food cook completely in their presence. Even red dye - the colour of flushed hot skin (and evidence of the tonalli-as-heat) would not take correctly. To return the heat they had taken, twins were given the task of adding wood to a fire or tossing water on the steambath to release billowing clouds of hot steam. They were charged with putting tamales in the cooking pot and being sure red dye set evenly.’

Quote/info from The Natural History of the Soul in Ancient Mexico by Jill Leslie McKeever Furst, Yale University Press, 1995, p. 89.

Picture source
’The Twins’ ceramic figures carrying box*, Xalapa Museum of Anthropology, Mexico: photo by Karel Baresh/Mexicolore.

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on Apr 03rd 2020

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