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Teotihuacán - Tlaloc masks and heads of the 'Feathered Serpent' ( Quetzalcoatl )

Tlaloc (also known as Nuhualpilli ) is the name of one of the oldest and most important deities of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs and Totonaks . Its Mayan equivalent was Chaac ; in the Zapotec region ( Monte Alban ) he was called Cocijo .


Representations of Tlalocs in mask form can be found in particular on the outer walls of temple pyramids and in codices . Ceramics with his face are rather rare. He is easy to recognize by his angular face shape and his eyes, which are framed by a kind of square glasses. His mouth is open and often shows a series of elongated teeth (often also distinct canines); sometimes his tongue hangs out. Similar representations can also be found in Guatemala ( El Baúl ), which may be attributed to the Pipilen immigrated from the north or Aztec influences.

Tlaloc in pre-Aztec cultures

The traces of Tlaloc can possibly be traced back to the Olmec - whether the pre-Aztec name was also Tlaloc is unknown. A deity with a very similar appearance was worshiped in Teotihuacán , it is unclear whether this already covered the same spectrum of activity as Tlaloc did with the Aztecs 800 to 1000 years later.

Tlaloc Vasija

Tlaloc in the Aztec religion

Tlaloc Statue - The representation of Tlaloc as a full-body statue would be unique; there are therefore doubts as to whether the god depicted here is actually Tlaloc.

Tlaloc was one of the most important gods of the Aztec circle of gods. He is often referred to as the rain deity, but was generally associated with all weather phenomena by the Aztecs : rain , hail , ice , snow , storms ( hurricanes ), clouds , floods , drought , thunder and lightning . But he is also considered to be the originator of illnesses, childbed fever and sudden infant death syndrome . People who died because of him came to his own paradise called Tlalocan . Because of this abundance of power, he was both revered and feared. He could bless the fields with rain or punish the people with drought, he could favor military campaigns through good weather or cause great destruction through storms. Perhaps it was the "weather sensitivity" of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan - the situation in a lagoon of Lake Texcoco , and due to the dependence of the metropolis from the agriculture to the surrounding Chinampas - special there veneration by his temple equal footing that of the main Aztec god Huitzilopochtli on the great temple pyramid, the Templo Mayor .


Like most Aztec deities, Tlaloc also demanded human sacrifices , which were offered to him in various forms, mostly either on cloudy mountain peaks or by drowning in water. Children were preferred as sacrifices. If they cried during the sacrifice, this was taken as a good omen , as the tears symbolized the rain. In the spring, the Aztecs held two large sacrificial festivals (Atlcahualo and Tozoztontli) in honor of Tlaloc, during which they wished for sufficient rain.

Tlalocan or the "Paradise of Tlaloc" in Teotihuacan. Rain rises from snake-like flowers over a Tlaloc mask and on its sides


Among the Aztecs, Tlaloc had an older sister named Huixtocihuatl. His first marriage was to Xochiquetzal ("flower feather"), who was kidnapped by Tezcatlipoca . Chalchiuhtlicue later became Tlaloc's consort, the goddess of water; with her he had a son named Tecciztecatl.


Tlaloc was the ruler of the 4th heaven. The Aztecs described it as a paradise of eternal spring, abundance and joy. It was imagined that warriors, drowned people or those sacrificed in his honor could expect eternal life here. A wall painting of the 'Paradise of Tlaloc' can be found in Teotihuacán; a copy can be seen in the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City .


See also


  • Mary Miller , Karl Taube : The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. Thames and Hudson, London 1993
  • Michael Smith: The Aztecs . Blackwell Publishing, 2003

Web links

Commons : Tlaloc  - collection of images, videos and audio files