Ritual Impersonator of the Deity Xipe Totec

A work made of ceramic and pigment.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of ceramic and pigment.

Date:

1450/1500

Artist:

Aztec (Mexica)
Possibly central Veracruz, Mexico

About this artwork

As a god of the late dry season and early rainy season (May–June), Xipe Totec (“The Flayed One”) expresses regeneration. By the time of Spanish contact in 1519, the cult of this deity was widespread throughout Mesoamerica. This figure depicts a young male wearing the skin of a sacrificed victim, a primary symbolic aspect of rituals conducted during agricultural fertility ceremonies dedicated to this deity. The lines across the chest represent stitched seams where the skin was fastened. Like living seed within a dried husk, the deity impersonator embodies the relationship between death and the renewal of life.

On View

Arts of the Americas, Gallery 136

Artist

Aztec (Mexica)

Title

Ritual Impersonator of the Deity Xipe Totec

Origin

Veracruz

Date

1450–1500

Medium

Ceramic and pigment

Dimensions

H. 58.4 cm (23 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel A. Marx

Reference Number

1960.905

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share