Seated Figure Wearing a Skin

Seated Figure Wearing a Skin

600-1000

Earthenware, slip

Overall: 43.3 x 29.2 x 28.7 cm (17 1/16 x 11 1/2 x 11 5/16 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James C. Gruener 1990.246

Description

This type of image-showing a human clothed in a sacrificial victim’s skin, visible around the mouth and wrists-is one of the most awesome created by Mesoamerican artists. The figure represents the deity Xipe Totec or a human impersonator. Among the later Aztecs, Xipe was associated with fertility, rain, and renewal. Perhaps the wearer, upon shedding the skin, was conceived as a sprout emerging from a withered husk. Xipe also had military connections.

See also
Collection: 
AA - Mesoamerica
Department: 
Art of the Americas
Type of artwork: 
Sculpture

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