The Role of Sacrifice
Earth Mother Goddess
  1. Earth Mother Goddess (from Splendours)

    The Earth Mother Goddess, known as Coatlicue to the Aztecs, represents the balance of forces in the Mesoamerican belief system. According to Aztec mythology, she is both creator and destroyer. Her face consists of two fanged serpents, and her skirt is woven of snakes (symbols of fertility). Her necklace is strung from a skull, hearts, and hands (which were possibly tokens of sacrificial offerings). Her fingers and toes are sharp claws to devour the dead, as the earth consumes all who die.

Magliabechi Codex
  1. Magliabechi Codex, page 70

    The influence of Europeans is evident in the style of this illustration from a Colonial codex. The gory depiction of a human sacrifice may have been influenced by the Europeans' desire to show the indigenous peoples as savage and pagan, and in need of Christian salvation.

Laud Codex

Laud Codex

  1. Laud Codex, pages 8 and 21

    In the Mesoamerican concept of the cosmos, ceremonies which often included sacrifice were necessary to sustain the gods, to maintain balance, and to ensure the survival of the world. These two images depict a decapitated sacrificial victim whose body has been dropped into an earthen well, and a human sacrifice being performed by a priest wearing ceremonial garb and body paint.

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