Xipe Totec

Central deity in Aztec religion / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In Aztec mythology, Xipe Totec (/ˈʃpə ˈttɛk/; Classical Nahuatl: Xīpe Totēc [ˈʃiːpe ˈtoteːk(ʷ)]) or Xipetotec[3] ("Our Lord the Flayed One")[4] was a life-death-rebirth deity, god of agriculture, vegetation, the east, spring, goldsmiths, silversmiths, liberation, deadly warfare, the seasons,[5] and the earth.[6] The female equivalent of Xipe Totec was the goddess Xilonen-Chicomecoatl.[7]

Quick facts: Xipe-Totec, Other names, Abode, Symbol, Gende...
God of ritual flaying and agriculture, lord of seasons, regeneration and crafts, patron of goldsmiths.[1] Ruler of the East[2]
Member of the Tezcatlipocas
Xipe Totec as depicted in the Codex Borgia, shown holding a bloody weapon and wearing flayed human skin as a suit.
Other namesRed Tecatlipoca, Camaxtli, Camaxtle, Xipe
AbodeIlhuicatl-Teteocan[2] (Twelfth Heaven)
• the East[2]
Ethnic groupAztec (Nahua)
Personal information
ParentsOmetecuhtli and Omecihuatl (Codex Zumarraga)[2]
SiblingsQuetzalcoatl, Tezcatlipoca, Huitzilopochtli (Codex Zumarraga)[2]
Annotated image of Xipe Totec sculpture

Xipe Totec connected agricultural renewal with warfare.[8] He flayed himself to give food to humanity, symbolic of the way maize seeds lose their outer layer before germination and of snakes shedding their skin. He is often depicted as being red beneath the flayed skin he wears, likely referencing his own flayed nature. Xipe Totec was believed by the Aztecs to be the god that invented war.[9] His insignia included the pointed cap and rattle staff, which was the war attire for the Mexica emperor.[10] He had a temple called Yopico within the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan.[11] Xipe Totec is associated with pimples, inflammation and eye diseases,[12][13] and possibly plague.[14] Xipe Totec has a strong relation to diseases such as smallpox, blisters and eye sickness[15] and if someone suffered from these diseases offerings were made to him.[16]

This deity is of uncertain origin. Xipe Totec was widely worshipped in central Mexico at the time of the Spanish Conquest,[11] and was known throughout most of Mesoamerica.[17] Representations of the god have been found as far away as Tazumal in El Salvador. The worship of Xipe Totec was common along the Gulf Coast during the Early Postclassic. The deity probably became an important Aztec god as a result of the Aztec conquest of the Gulf Coast in the middle of the fifteenth century.[11]

In January 2019, Mexican archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History confirmed that they had discovered the first known surviving temple dedicated to Xipe Totec in the Puebla state of Mexico.[18] The temple was found while examining ruins of the Popoluca peoples indigenous to Mexico. The Popolucas built the temple in an area called Ndachjian-Tehuacan between AD 1000 and 1260 prior to Aztec invasion of the area.[19]