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Macuilxochitl (Aztec Deity)
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Macuilxochitl (Aztec Deity)

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Description This basalt stone sculpture shows the Aztec deity Macuilxochitl, patron god of gamblers and leader of the group of deities known as “Ahuiateteo.” They reigned over pleasures which in excess could cause problems for humans, such as drinking and gambling. Macuilxochitl is shown in the sixteenth century manuscript known as the Codex Magliabecchiano with elaborate clothing, a headdress of feathers similar to that which the Walters’ sculpture wears, and red body paint. In this image, he presides over a group of players and gamblers clustered around a board for the game of “Patolli," very popular among the Aztecs. Players would invoke Macuilxochitl’s name before taking their turn, and representations of the components of the god’s name, “macuilli” (five) and “xochitl” (flower) can be seen above and below the board. This statue was made ca. 1400-1520 near Matlala, in the modern-day state of Puebla, Mexico, and could have been used by a temple dedicated to the deity, or on a ballcourt, where images of Macuilxochitl could frequently be found. It is possible that it was originally covered with a thin layer of stucco, traces of which are still visible, and perhaps with red pigment.
  • World of Wonder. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1971-1972.
Provenance Present at the Hacienda de Matlala , Puebla, Mexico, until 1850; purchased by Edouard Pingret [1788-1875], Paris, 1850-1855 [1][2]; inherited by the daughter of Edouard Pingret, 1875; Sale, Paris (?), 1909; purchased by Dikran Kelekian, Paris, 1909; purchased by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1911; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931. [1] Édouard Pingret Notebook, Quai Branly Museum, Pais (MQB 80.2005.8.1, p.17). [2] "Édouard Pingret, Un Coleccionista Europeo de Mediados del Siglo XIX," Marie-France Fauvet-Berthelot, Leonardo Lopez Lujan, 2012, p.72.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1911

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basalt, shell
Accession Number
H: 35 1/2 in. (90.2 cm)


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