Tlaltecuhtli ("Coatlicue del Metro") VS. the Colossal Coatlicue
The nickname of this three-dimentional Tlaltecuhtli sculpture is “Coatlicue of the Metro” due to its visual similarities to the colossal Coatlicue in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico city. Coatlicue, “the serpent skirt,” is the mother of the sun, the moon, the stars, patroness of life and death. Art historians believe that these two monuments were produced by the same Aztec workshop.
Scale-wise, the Coatlicue is almost three times bigger than the Tlatecuhtli monument. It is also much more solemn. The Coalicue statue is standing, whereas Tlatecuhtli is crouching.
Their front view shows the most obviously similar iconography on their templates, which is the necklace. Coatlicue has a skull in the center of the necklace, whereas Tlatecuhtli only has hands and hearts.
Their faces are radically different. Coatlicue’s head consists of two fanged serpents facing each other. Tlatecuhtli’s face is on its topside, with a human-like face, fangs, flint knife tongue, and hands rising on the sides.
From their back view, we see the similar back aprons with a skull. Elizabeth Boone writes, unlike Coatlicue who associates with eagle and has feather on her back apron, Tlatecuhtli “has jaguar pelt marking that tie them more closely with the earth” because jaguar associates with night, in this case, the night journey of the sun travel underneath the earth. Further, both of them wear skirts. Coatlicue’s skirt is a net of interwoven serpents, but Tlatecuhtli wears a skirt that consists of skulls and crossbones.
In any case, compared to Coatlicue, who has synthesis meanings for the Aztec duality – for she is the goddess of the creator and the destroyer, life and death, mobility and immobility, heaven and the underworld, beauty and horror – Tlatecuhtli emphasizes majorly only on the terrestrial elements. However, its duality reflects from a different perspective: gender.