xicano art history

5

Xiuhcoátl, the Turquoise Serpent, or Fire Serpent.

Xiuhcoátl is the Nagual, the Spirit Animal of Xiuhtecuhtli, the Turquoise Lord, Teótl of Fire, Time, the Center, the Hearth, and Wisdom, Father to the Teótl and embodiment of wisdom. The Xiuhcoátl is also an atlatl wielded by Huitzilopochtli, the Sun at the Zenith, who personifies the victory of wisdom over ignorance.

The Turquoise Serpent is the dry season, as opposed to Quetzalcoátl, the Plumed Serpent, who is the wet season. Metaphorically, in the wet Mexican summer, Quetzalcoátl descends to the earth and covers it with his skin and plumage; all the earth is covered with his green feathers, and life blooms. In the dry Winter, Xiuhcoátl descends, and with his fiery skin covers the earth, and all the vegetation dries out and dies.

The serpent also represents the movement of time; its very body is shaped like the year-glyph, its body forming trapezoidal, year-glyph shapes, and its tail is the glyph itself. Thus, the serpent Xiuhcoátl is symbolic of day, fire, turquoise, the dry season, and wisdom.

In the photos, he appears at the top as the Spirit Animal of Xiuhtecuhtli; he circles the body of the Turquoise Lord, and from his flaming skin emerges calendar glyphs, representing time. In the detail, can be seen his curling snout and his year-glyph tail. The following two pictures are ancient Mexica stone carvings of Xiuhcoátl, and at the bottom, one of my paintings in which Huitzilopochtli, the Hummingbird on the Left, the Sun at its Zenith, holds Xiuhcoátl in his hand as a weapon with which to defeat his sister the moon, and, metaphorically, the triumph of wisdom over ignorance.

My paintings are available as limited edition prints in my Etsy store at this link.

The Stone Masks of Teotihuacan, Mexico Stone masks associated with the ancient city of Teotihuacan have come to serve as emblems of the pre-Columbian past itself, yet many questions remain about these objects.