Tlaloc-the Rainmaker

Written by probationideadlyi on May 27th, 2014. Posted in Aztec Gods


Tlaloc-Chakmool, He Who Makes Things Sprout, the god of rain, lightning and thunder. Het is a fertility god, but also a wrathful deity. He is responsible for both floods and droughts.

Tlaloc is commonly depicted as a goggle-eyed blue being with jaguar fangs. Often he is presented wearing a net of clouds, a crown of heron feather and foam sandals. He carries rattles to make thunder.

Tlaloc was first married to the goddess Xochiquetzal, but then Tezcatlipoca kidnapped her. He later married Chalchihuitlicue. With Chalchihuitlicue he became the father of Tecciztecatl. Tlaloc has an older sister namedHuixtocihuatl.

He is the ruler of Tlalocan, the fourth heaven. Tlalocan is the place of eternal spring, a paradise of green plants. Tlalocan is the destination in the afterlife for those who died violently from phenomena associated with water, such as by lightning, drowning and water-borne diseases.
Tlaloc ruled over the third world, 4 Quiahuitl, the world that was destroyed by a fiery deluge.
He is served by various rain spirits called the tlaloque.

In Tenochtitlan, ancient Mexico City, half of the central temple /”Huey Teocalli”/ was dedicated to Tlaloc. The other half was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the god of the Mexica.

Tlaloc is both the protector of the seventh day,  /deer/ and the seventh trecena, 1- /rain/. He is Lord of the Day for days with number 8 /”chicuei” in Nahuatl/. Tlaloc is the nineth and last Lord of the Night.

There are many indicators of a late date for  Chacmool, such as its complex iconography, the three dimensionality of its carving, and the well-modeled hands and arms.
The cuauhxicalli (vessel for hearts) that rests on the stomach of the figure is surrounded by a relief of human hearts, and the god is in the pose of the earth god Tlaltecuhtli. The hearts and the god are surrounded by snails, symbol of fertility and life, and water creatures, which associate the figure with the sacred liquids of the universe—blood and underground water. Water was very important for the Mesoamerican people, whose main source of sustenance
was agriculture.Chacmool is a Mexica reinterpretation of a Toltec art form to honor and venerate the main Toltec deity and their Toltec forefathers.

The Chacmool of the Tlaloc Shrine

The chacmool, a type of sculptural figure, has been found in various places of Mesoamerica, especially in the Toltec capital of Tula and the Maya city of Chichén Itzá. Mexica versions of the chacmool reproduce Toltec features,  including the reclining posture and a receptacle, or vessel, on top of the stomach for offerings. Chacmools are thought to be mediators between humans and the divine.
This monument displaying a reclining male figure was discovered during the 1979 excavations of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan on the floor of the temple dedicated to Tlaloc. As in Chichén Itzá, this chacmool was set on the floor at the entrance of an important temple. This chacmool may represent one
of the earliest examples of Aztec sculpture. According to Matos Moctezuma, the date of the figure may be 1375–1427 (1988: 38). Besides being of importance for the Tlaloc temple, this figure is the first instance of an Aztec copy
from the Toltec monumental arts. Pasztory asserts that the Aztec chacmool was influenced by Toltec art and represented Toltec ancestry, since Tlaloc is also associated with the Toltec chacmool (1983: 144). In
some historical accounts, the rain god Tlaloc even gave approval to the Aztec to settle at Tenochtitlan.
The Chacmool of the Tlaloc shrine is not as realistic as later Aztec carvings; it is angular and crudely finished,
like its Toltec prototypes. Details were evidently painted rather than carved. The statue still preserves its original paint, including red, blue, white, black, and yellow.
The facial aspect of this statue is weathered by time, but it does not seem to represent a deity but rather, as in Toltec art, a dressed man holding a dish on his stomach. He is reclining in an uncomfortable position with raised knees while his head turns away from the temple by 90 degrees and looks over his shoulder to the horizon. It still is not known what this posture signified in either Toltec or Aztec art. A fan at the back of his neck symbolizes a fertility god

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