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Quetzalcóatl, Pre-Colombian Mexican divinity

classical period (15th century)
sculpted stone
Population: Aztec
cat. 101536

The sculpture is a representation of Quetzalcóatl, a Nahvati name that indicates the Feathered Serpent god and also the official title of the high priest. In the Aztec pantheon Quetzalcóatl, god of the day, creator of maize, of the religious ceremonies and lord of the priests, opposed the destructive and nocturnal Tezcatlipoca, patron of warriors. This mythological reptile is the symbol of one of the main and most complex divinities of Central America. According to tradition, the emperor Montezuma II identified Cortés, the conqueror who had come by sea from the east, with Quetzalcóatl who, according to a version of the Toltech myth of Ce Acatl, had gone away towards the east promising to return in a not specified future. This sculpture, from the high plain of Mexico, datable to the classical period of Aztec art, was given to Pope Pius XI by the Borgiano Museum of Propaganda Fide of Rome.