Tlaxochimaco, the Ninth 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 boy holding a bouquet of flowers in each hand. His face is painted pink. Above his head appears another head with a headdress of green feathers, blue neckpiece, and gold pendants. Next to it is a figure holding stalks of leaves. This month, identified as August, is called Tlaxochimaco (Bestowal of Flowers). This month was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the god of war whose attribute was the sky-blue color of the neckpiece, and the head in this image may be his.

Last updated: October 26, 2012