Tecuilhuitontli, the Seventh Month of the Aztec Solar Calendar


The Tovar Codex, attributed to the 16th-century Mexican Jesuit Juan de Tovar, contains detailed information about the rites and ceremonies of the Aztecs (also known as Mexica). The codex is illustrated with 51 full-page paintings in watercolor. Strongly influenced by pre-contact pictographic manuscripts, the paintings are of exceptional artistic quality. The manuscript is divided into three sections. The first section is a history of the travels of the Aztecs prior to the arrival of the Spanish. The second section is an illustrated history of the Aztecs. The third section contains the Tovar calendar, which records a continuous Aztec calendar with months, weeks, days, dominical letters, and church festivals of a Christian 365-day year. This illustration, from the third section, shows a goddess, probably Huixtocihuatl (or a priestess impersonating her), wearing a cloak, a plume of quetzal feathers, and a headdress. The text describes this month as the time when the lower classes and workers served the lesser lords and chiefs. This month, identified as including the saint’s day of John the Baptist, is called Tecuilhuitontli (Small Feast of the Lords). The patron gods of this month, which equated to June–July, were Huixtocihuatl or Uixtocihuatl (a fertility goddess who presided over salt and salt water and whose younger brother was Tlaloc) and Xochipilli (the flower prince and god of maize, love, beauty, song, and dance).

Last updated: January 14, 2014