CEREMONIAL HACHA REPRESENTING THE GOD XIPE TOTEC
VERACRUZ - Mexico
450 – 750 A.D.
- Height : 25.3 cm
- Width : 19.6 cm
- Depth : 16 cm
Fine-grained cipolin marble.
Ceremonial hacha representing a human head depicting the god Xipe Totec. The smoothly processing of the face reveals the presence of a second skin that was applied as a mask. The limit is visible above the arches of the eyebrows and around the mouth, where a broad opening was made. These characteristic attributes of the god Xipe Totec symbolizes the revival of vegetation. The open mouth shows the lower gum. The large and flat nose has pierced nostrils. The crescent-shaped moon eyes are closed and a fine incision separates the two eyelids. The head is adorned with a headdress made up of feathers and plants that goes on with three attached strips on the sides and a ruffle on the back. A central crest in relief, decorated with fine edgings, evokes the germination of the ear of corn and forms the slightly sharp part of the hacha. The back of the hacha is hollowed-out with a right-angled projection.
Xipe Totec, “our lord the flayed one” in Nahuatl, is the god symbolizing the revival of nature. The cyclic regeneration was reaching its peak on the Spring Equinox, when the earth started vibrating. Every life was then reappearing and the earth was covered with a mantle of vegetation. The priest put a second skin on to symbolize that revival.