Mixtecs, 1250-1521 AD
National Museum of Anthropology, CONACULTA-INAH Mexico City
The tripod vase carries a figure of the god of death. In the Nahuatl language he was called Mictlantecutli, while Mixtecs called him Koki Bexelaxo. All his body except hands and feet has the form of a skeleton. In his right hand he holds a slightly bent rod (wand), probably a symbol of power, in the left, resting on his thigh, a sacrificial knife. The figure's scull is moveable, arms and legs are hollow. Traces of red paint can be seen on the baked clay. In ancient Mexico, red was associated with blood, sacrifices and life born from the sacrificed body. It is interesting that the god's hands and feet are covered with flesh like a living creature's. This expresses the dualism of understanding life and death, deep-rooted in the minds of the inhabitants of Mexico. The vase was found in a burial in Zaachila.