Quecholli, the 14th 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 man, holding a double bag and a spear, wearing a headdress with white feathers and a bone through his nose. The text describes this month as meaning either a bird of rich plumage or a war lance and explains that it was a time for going to war. Identified as November, the month is called Quecholli (Precious Feather, or Plume, and in some sources War Lance). It was dedicated to Mixcoatl-Camaxtli, the Chichimec hunting god. The headdress represents hunting; the bone nose ornament is an attribute of Mixcoatl.

Last updated: October 26, 2012