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Tlaltecuhtli, Tlaltecutli is a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican deity figure, identified from sculpture and iconography dating to the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerican chronology (ca. 1200–1519), primarily among the Mexica (Aztec) and other Nahuatl-speaking cultures. Tlaltecuhtli is also known from several post-conquest manuscripts that surveyed Mexica mythology and belief systems, such as the Histoyre du méchique compiled in the mid-16th century.[1]

In one of the Mexica creation accounts Tlaltecuhtli is described as a sea monster who dwelled in the ocean after the fourth Great Flood, an embodiment of the raging chaos before creation.[2] Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca, in the form of serpents, tore her in half, throwing half upwards to create the sky and stars and leaving the other half to become the land of the earth. She remained alive, however, and demanded human blood.

Although the deity's name is a masculine form in the Nahuatl language, most representations of Tlaltecuhtli exhibit distinctly female characteristics, and the figure is often posed in the characteristic position of a woman giving birth.[3]

She is sometimes associated with Cihuacoatl, Tonantzin and Tonatiuh.

Recently a monolith of the goddess was unearthed in Mexico City.[4]

See also

External links


  1. Pasztory (1983, pp.81, 170); Miller and Taube (1993, pp.167–168).
  2. Campbell's rephrasing of a passage in the Histoyre du méchique (Campbell 1976, pp.224–225)
  3. Miller and Taube (1993, p.167).
  4. "El monolito de Ajaaracas es de Tlaltecuhtli", La Jornada November 17, 2006 (in Spanish)


  • Campbell, Joseph (1976). Primitive Mythology (2nd reprint edition (©1969) ed.). Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-140-04304-7. 
  • Pasztory, Esther (1983). Aztec Art. New York: H.N. Abrams. ISBN 0810906872. 
  • Taube, Karl A. (1993). Aztec and Maya Myths (4th University of Texas printing ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-78130-X. 
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Tlaltecuhtli. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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