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What is an Aztec Design Called?

You may be asking yourself, what is an Aztec design called? Here are a few common examples: ‘Tlaloc Vessel’, ‘Chacmool’, ‘Xochipilli,’ and ‘Tlaloc Veil.’ If you’d like to know more about Aztec designs, read on. Listed below are some interesting facts about the Aztecs and what makes their designs so interesting.

‘Tlaloc Vessel’

The ‘Tlaloc Vessel’ Aztric design resembles the god of rain, lightning, and thunderstorms, Tlaloc. According to Aztec legend, Tlaloc was the god of water, who controlled the rain to give his people an abundant supply of fresh water. This ancient polychrome vessel was created by the Angel Ceron Artisan Association, and its original piece is located in Mexico City’s Museo Del Templo Mayor.

The ‘Tlaloc Vessel’ is an incredibly detailed Aztec design that depicts a human figure wearing a chicomecoatl costume. These pieces were usually placed in temples as a reminder of the gods’ sacrifices. During Aztec religious ceremonies, human sacrifice was often performed, including bloodletting. The Aztecs believed that these sacrifices appeased the gods and ensured that the sun would come up and set every day.


‘Chacmool,’ the Maya word for’relaxed,’ is a fictional character that appears on some of the earliest paintings. While its meaning is unclear, the character is still a part of literature. Interestingly, the character’s depiction does not represent an actual person but rather a ruler or individual. But it does symbolize a reclining figure.

A chacmool represents the god of rain. This figure is often depicted with a royal wig, a knife, or a royal diadem. The figure is not a captive, and the closest Classic Maya parallels are images of the goddess Pakal’s rebirth on the lid of a sarcophagus. Archaeological evidence suggests that this motif was associated with royalty, and its association persisted until the Late Postclassic among Mexica descendants.


A ‘Tlaloc’ Aztec design was inspired by a pair of feathered serpents that hung from the tails of Quetzalcoatl. The two serpents, made of a turquoise mosaic of blue and green hues, intertwine and form a stylized mask. The interwoven bodies create a prominent, twisted nose and goggled eyes. The serpents’ tails double as rattles.

In Aztec cosmology, there were four Tlalocs that mark the corners of the universe. These four figures hold the sky up, which in turn functions as a frame for the passing of time. Tlaloc was also the god of the third sun and patron of the calendar day Mazatl. He was killed by fire, so he is not the only Aztec design associated with the third sun.


‘Xochipilli’ is the main character in a 3D-printed sculpture of the Aztec God of Arts and Dance. The image of him is perhaps the most famous of all. The figure is often depicted cross-legged, and his face has echoes of Iggy Pop and Keith Richards. Xochipilli’s pose is reminiscent of that of a 60s rock star, practicing yoga in a luxury mansion.

The Aztecs associated Xochipilli with pleasure, sexuality, love, and art. The god of pleasure was also associated with hallucinogenic plants and gay men. His imagery has also been linked to gay men and ritualized male prostitution. The transgender artist has added a layer of gender identity to this design. ‘Xochipilli’ is a permanent feature of the Museum’s collection and contributes to the annual theme of questioning identity.

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