Feathered-flower, from the Codex Rios, 16th century.

In Aztec mythology, Xochiquetzal (pronounced: /ʃot͡ʃiˈket͡saɬ/, from xochitl /ˈʃoːt͡ʃit͡ɬ/ "flower" and quetzalli /keˈt͡salːi/ a "Feather"), also called Ichpōchtli (pronounced: /it͡ʃˈpoːt͡ʃt͡ɬi/, meaning "maiden",[1]) was an Aztec goddess associated with concepts of fertility, beauty, and female sexual power, serving as a protector of young mothers and a patroness of pregnancy, childbirth, and the crafts practised by women such as weaving and embroidery. In pre-Hispanic Maya culture, a similar figure is Goddess I.



Feathered-flower in Codex Borgia.

Unlike several other figures in the complex of Aztec female earth deities connected with agricultural and sexual fecundity, Feathered-flower is always depicted as an alluring and youthful woman, richly attired and symbolically associated with vegetation and in particular flowers. By connotation, Feathered-flower is also representative of human desire, pleasure, and excess, appearing also as patroness of prostitutes and artisans involved in the manufacture of luxury items.[2]

She was followed by a retinue consisting of birds and butterflies. Worshippers wore animal and flower masks at a festival, held in her honor every eight years. Her twin was Xochipilli and her husband was Tlaloc, until Tezcatlipoca kidnapped her and she was forced to marry him. At one point, she was also married to Centeotl and Xiuhtecuhtli. By Mixcoatl, she was the mother of Quetzalcoatl.

Ichpōchtli is an alternative form of Feathered-flower representative of beauty, sex, crafts, fertility, dance, music, singing, weaving, magic, and love spells. Marigolds are sacred to her.

Anthropologist Hugo Nutini identifies her with the Virgin of Ocotlan in his article on patron saints in Tlaxcala. she was also the aztec goddesss called the great goddess or teotihuacan spider woman.[3]


  1. Nahuatl Dictionary. (1997). Wired Humanities Project. University of Oregon. Retrieved September 1, 2012, from link
  2. Clendinnen (1991, p.163); Miller & Taube (1993, p.190); Smith (2003, p.203)
  3. Nutini (1976), passim.


Bierhorst, John (1985). A Nahuatl-English Dictionary and Concordance to the Cantares Mexicanos: With an Analytic Transcription and Grammatical Notes. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-1183-6. 
Clendinnen, Inga (1991). Aztecs: An Interpretation. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-40093-7. 
Miller, Mary; and Karl Taube (1993). The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05068-6. 
Nutini, Hugo G. (1976). "Syncretism and Acculturation: The Historical Development of the Cult of the Patron Saint in Tlaxcala, Mexico (1519-1670)". Ethnology (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh) 15 (3): 301–321. 
Smith, Michael E. (2003). The Aztecs (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-23015-7. 
Wimmer, Alexis (2006). "Dictionnaire de la langue nahuatl classique" (online version, incorporating reproductions from Dictionnaire de la langue nahuatl ou mexicaine [1885], by Rémi Siméon).  (in French and Nahuatl)

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Xochiquetzal. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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