Panquetzaliztli, Banner Raising, the 15th 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. In this illustration, from the third section, an old and emaciated man holds a banner decorated with blue stripes and pennants. He wears a necklace of blue beads with gold pendants. Above the man's head is a goat. The text describes the month as being one in which the war captains celebrate. Identified as December with the astrological symbol of Capricorn, the month is called Panquetzaliztli (Banner Raising). It was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war. The blue color may be associated with this god, whose name means "Blue hummingbird on the left."

Last updated: October 26, 2012