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Xochipilli as depicted in the Borgia Codex.
Xochipilli, Aztec terracotta
Lombards Museum

Xochipilli [ʃu˕ːt͡ʃiˈpiɬːi] was the god of art, games, beauty, dance, flowers, and song in Aztec mythology. His name contains the Nahuatl words xochitl ("flower") and pilli (either "prince" or "child"), and hence means "flower prince". As the patron of writing and painting, he was called Chicomexochitl the "Seven-flower", but he could also be referred to as Macuilxochitl "Five-flower". His wife was the human girl Mayahuel[citation needed], and his twin sister was Xochiquetzal. As one of the gods responsible for fertility and agricultural produce, he was also associated with Tlaloc (god of rain), and Cinteotl (god of maize).[citation needed] Xochipilli corresponds to the Tonsured Maize God among the Classic Mayas.

Xochipilli was also the patron of both homosexuals and male prostitutes, a role possibly resulting from his being absorbed from the Toltec civilisation.[1] He among other gods was depicted wearing a talisman known as an oyohualli which was a pendant shaped as a teardrop crafted out of mother-of-pearl.[2]

Xochipilli statue

In the mid-19th century, a 16th-century Aztec statue of Xochipilli was unearthed on the side of the volcano Popocatépetl near Tlalmanalco. The statue is of a single figure seated upon a temple-like base. Both the statue and the base upon which it sits are covered in carvings of sacred and psychoactive organisms including mushrooms (Psilocybe aztecorum), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), Ololiúqui (Turbina corymbosa), sinicuichi (Heimia salicifolia), possibly cacahuaxochitl (Quararibea funebris), and one unidentified flower.

"The texts always use the flower in an entirely spiritual sense, and the aim of the religious colleges was to cause the flower of the body to bloom: This flower can be no other than the soul. The association of the flower with the sun is also evident. One of the hieroglyphs for the sun is a four-petalled flower, and the feasts of the ninth month, dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, were entirely given over to flower offerings."

- Paul Pettennude, Ph.D.

The figure himself sits on the base, head tilted up, eyes open, jaw tensed, with his mouth half open and his arms opened to the heavens. The statue is currently housed in the Aztec hall of the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City.

Statue of Xochipilli (From the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City)

Entheogen connection

It has been suggested by Wasson, Schultes, and Hofmann that the statue of Xochipilli represents a figure in the throes of entheogenic ecstasy. The position and expression of the body, in combination with the very clear representations of hallucinogenic plants which are known to have been used in sacred contexts by the Aztec support this interpretation.

Wasson says "He is absorbed in temicxoch, 'the flowery dream', as the Nahua say in describing the awesome experience that follows the ingestion of Sinicuichi (Heimia salicifolia). I can think of nothing like it in the long and rich history of European art."[3]

See also


  1. Greenberg, David. The Construction of Homosexuality. p. 165, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990. ISBN 0-226-30628-3.
  2. http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/aztecs/artefacts/personified-knives. Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Wasson, R. Gordon (1980) The Wondrous Mushroom

External links