Toci and Xochiquetzal, Two Aztec Goddesses


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, an illustrated history of the Aztecs, forms the main body of the manuscript. The third section contains the Tovar calendar. This illustration, from the second section, depicts two goddesses. Toci or Tonantzin, "our venerated mother," is shown with a bone through her nose, holding flower plumes and wearing quetzal plumes on her head. Xochiquetzal, "flower feather," is shown wearing a jade necklace, kneeling on a lake. Jacques Lafaye, the editor of the facsimile edition of the Tovar manuscript, claimed that the anonymous commentator has mislabeled the figure on the left as Toci or Tonantzin. Lafaye argued that the figure is Xochiquetzal, who was the goddess of artists, love, earth, pregnant women, and the moon, and who is sometimes mentioned as being married to Tlaloc, the god of rain. Lafaye identified the figure on the right as Chalchiuhtlicue, the goddess of lakes and streams, and who was also said to be married to Tlaloc. Lafaye based his argument on the fact that another important manuscript, the Codex Durán, contains an illustration of Xochiquetzal on the left and Chalchiuhtlicue on the right.

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Title in Original Language

Tozi que quiere dezir aguela. Diosas de los Mexicanos

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Physical Description

Watercolor on paper ; 21 x 15.2 centimeters


  • Illustration from recto leaf 136

Last updated: October 26, 2012