Macuilxochitl

Macuilxochitl, whose name means Five Flower, is the Aztec god of music, dance, flowers, and games. He is closely associated with Xochipilli, or Flower Prince. They are sometimes referred to as being the same god, or as being siblings.

Macuilxochitl appears seated in twisted perspective. His skin is red, with the image of a white hand placed over his mouth. Atop his head sits a large crown of feathers. His ears are pierced with red and white roundels. In his left hand he carries a staff with a heart pierced through the top. In his right hand he holds up a banner, possibly a sun-flag[1]. The right half of the page is occupied by four men playing a board game known as patolli. It is clear that these men are not deities as well, because they are depicted in significantly smaller proportions than Macuilxochitl. Three of the men look up at Macuilxochitl, two of which have small grey swirls floating above their hands. This work appears in the Codex Magliabechiano, which describes the way patolli players would make incense offerings to Macuilxochitl during the game.[2]

According to the Florentine Codex, offerings were made to Macuilxochitl not only during games, but also during the Feast of the Flower. During this celebration the Mexica fasted for four days. On the fifth day a man dressed as Macuilxochitl danced as others sang around him. This was followed by the sacrifice of a quail, which was then passed from person to person as they drew blood from it. Five tamales were then brought to his temple. When the feast was celebrated, a number of “tribute captives” were sacrificed. Macuilxochitl punished those who did not participate in practices of the feast, or experienced excessive amounts of pleasure through the infliction of various ailments such as boils and hemorrhoids.[3]


[1] Bernardino de Sahagún, "The Gods," in Florentine Codex: General History of the Things of New Spain, ed. Arthur J. O. Anderson et al. (Santa Fe: School of American Research and U of Utah Press, 1951), 14

[2] FAMSI - Codex Magliabechiano. Digital image. FAMSI - Akademische Druck Codex Magliabechiano. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. <http://www.famsi.org/research/graz/magliabechiano/index.html>.

[3] Bernardino de Sahagún, "The Gods," in Florentine Codex: General History of the Things of New Spain, ed. Arthur J. O. Anderson et al. (Santa Fe: School of American Research and U of Utah Press, 1951), 13-14