Anonymous: Codex Borgia, page 10 - 4 deities of the 20 day signs (13th-15th century)


(Vatican Library, Rome, Vatican City)

A page from the codex Borgia which is a famous book from Meso-America. The book was made by the Indians from the confederacies of Tolteca-Chichimeca (modern Mexican states of Puebla and Tlaxcala) and contains no text, only 'pictures'. The book is dedicated to the sacred 260 day calendar or tonalpohualli which was divided into 20-periods of 13-days each. A day (tonalli) in the tonalpohualli calendar consists of a number (1 to 13) and a symbol or daysign: 1-aligator, 2-wind, 3-house, 4-lizard etc. Each daysign is dedicated to a god or elemental force, the provider of the tonalli life energy for the day. This page shows 4 daysigns and their associated (Aztec) god. Each quarterpage contains a daysign, a deity and other figures. The depicted figures have some relationship with the depicted gods and or daysign but the relationship is not always very clear.

top right: the day sign ' Flint' with the god Chalchiuhtotolin,the 'Jade Turkey'/ Jewelled Fowl/ Turkey of the Precious Stone'. Chalchiuhtotolin was the god of disease and plague. Other figures in the quarter is a pertinent priest is the act of self-sacrifice (the man is piercing his eye).

lower right: the day sign 'House' with the god Tepeyollotl, the 'Heart of the Mountain'. Tepeyollotl was the god of earthquakes, echoes and jaguars. Other figures in the quarter is a penitent who is devouring his own excrement; the excrement stream is pouring toward the moon sign (the rabbit - this simultaneously represents both the polluting individual and his self-purification

lower left: the day sign ' Lizard' with the god Huehuecoyotl, the 'Old Coyote', the god of music, dance, mischief and song

top left: the day sign ' Movement' with the god Xolotl, the God of Twins', a god which is associated with the sunset and would guard the Sun as it traveled through the underworld every night. In this quarter Xolotl is depicted as one of the ahuiateteo - five gods who embodied the dangers of excessive drinking, gambling, sex and other pleasures.

Book from the 13th-15th century.


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