Native American Religions
Religions and cults of the indigenous people of the American continent: North American tribes, Aztec, Maya, and other natives.
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Huitzilopochtli (or Uitzilopochtli - "Hummingbird of the South") dressed in his war attire. Huitzilopochtli was the Aztec god of war as well as a sun god and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. From "Florentine Codex"; Illuminated manuscript; 1570. (The Florentine Codex is a manuscript containing a hand-written version of the encyclopedic account of Aztec society assembled by Bernardino de Sahagun (1499-1590).)
Double spout and bridge vessel with hummingbirds, Nasca culture, Peru, 200 BCE-600 CE. Decorated with several hummingbirds flying around two flowers at the base of the spouts. Hummingbirds were considered intermediaries or manifestations of the mountain gods. After painting, slip was applied and the vessel fired and burnished to a characteristic glossy finish. Ethno 1913.10-29.1
Mosaic mask of Tezcatlipoca, one of the Aztec creator gods, also the god of rulers, warriors and sorcerers. Alternate bands of turquoise and lignite cover a human skull. The jew is moveable and hinged with leather. The eyes are made of two disks of iron pyrite set in rings of shell. Turquoise was sent as tribute to the Aztec capital from several provinces of the empire. Ethno, ST 401
Stone bust of Quetzalcoatl, Aztec, from Mexico, 1325-1521. This sculpture represents the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. His name in Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Aztecs, means Feathered (quetzal feather) Serpent. The serpent's coils of the sculpture are covered with feathers and the face of the god (or an impersonation) emerges wearing the curved shell ear ornaments characteristic of representations of this god.The cult of Quetzalcoatl was widespread throughout Mesoamerica, although it was known by different names at different periods. While his various aspects and origins are far from clear, Quetzalcoatl is said to have been one of the Aztec creator gods. According to the Aztec creation myth there were four suns or worlds before the present one, each of them created and destroyed in a different way. When the fourth sun was destroyed by floods the gods decided to create a new one. To create a new race of humans, Quetzalcoatl descended to the lower levels of the Underworld. He managed to trick Mictlantecuhtli and retrieved the bones of the people of the fourth sun. With those bones and some of his blood he gave life to the humans that inhabited the present world. Ethno, 1825.12-10.11
Detail of a turquois mosaic of a double-headed serpent, Aztec/Mixtec. It is carved in wood and covered with turquois mosaic. The eye sockets were probably inlaid with iron pyrites and shell. This ornment was probablyworn as a pectoral on ceremonial occasions. The serpent played a very important role in Aztec religion. Ethno, 1894-634
Lintel 24, one of three panels from structure 23 at Yaxchilan, Mexico. It represents a bloodletting ritual performed by the king of Yaxchilan, Shield Jaguar II, and his wife, Lady K'ab'al Xook. The Maya king holds a flaming torch over his wife, who is pulling a thorny rope through her tongue. The glyphs in the text at the top indicate the event and the date, 709 CE.