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.

Date:

1400/1500

Artist:

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

Arts of the Americas, Gallery 136

Artist

Aztec (Mexica)

Title

Head of Xilonen, the Goddess of Young Maize

Origin

Tenochtitlan

Date

1400–1500

Medium

Basalt

Dimensions

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

1986.1091

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 .

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