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Head of Xilonen, the Goddess of Young Maize

A work made of basalt.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of basalt.




Aztec (Mexica)
Tenochtitlan, Mexico

About this artwork

This sculptural fragment represents Xilonen, the youthful Aztec (Mexica) goddess of new maize (corn), who embodies concepts of fertility and renewal. Two large ears of maize rise from her floral headband, with long tassels flowing down her back. In July the Aztecs held a spectacular agricultural festival in Xilonen’s honor to celebrate the first fruits of the summer season. During this ritual ceremony, a young girl impersonated the
goddess, dancing to bring forth an abundant harvest. The name Xilonen was Hispanicized in Mexico as elote, meaning “fresh, tender ear of corn.”


On View, Gallery 136


Arts of the Americas


Aztec (Mexica)


Head of Xilonen, the Goddess of Young Maize


Tenochtitlan (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.





32.4 × 20.3 × 12.1 cm (12 3/4 × 8 × 4 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

African and Amerindian Art Purchase Fund

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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