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Final Farewell: The Culture of Death and the Afterlife

Appeasing the Gods: Human Sacrifice in Pre-Columbian Cultures

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Figure Impersonating the God Xipe TotecFigure Impersonating the God Xipe Totec

Xipe Totec was a Mesoamerican god of Spring and new vegetation. Humans were sacrificed and flayed at the annual festival in his honor. The flayed skin was then donned by a priest who performed a ritual dance. The flaps on the ends of the figure’s wrists and ankles, and around its mouth, indicate it is wearing the flayed skin of a human sacrifice. The small hands around the pedestal may also represent those of sacrificial victims.

Figure Impersonating the God Xipe Totec
Early Classic Period, Upper Remojadas I,
Ca. 300–600 C.E.
Mexico, Central Veracruz
Terracotta
(70.18)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus

 

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