Xipe Totec (Our Lord the Flayed One), God of spring, renewal and war


Mezzanin: Stories from Mesoamerica

This Aztec mask consists of greenstone and was made in the 15th or early 16th century. Note the orifices of the nose, mouth and eyes. Their outlines are all drawn in a double line. This is because his face is covered with a second skin, which creates double outlines. The mask depicts Xipe-Totec, that is “our lord the maltreated“. He is the god of spring, of sowing, vegetation, and he is also a god of sacrifice. At the onset of spring, the Aztecs held celebrations in his honour which included a ceremony during which a prisoner was skinned alive. Other people, perhaps priests, then had to wear his skin. The ceremony possibly symbolised - analogous to a snake sloughing its skin - the cycle of nature and of re-birth.

Object data

Inv. No.


Object Name

Xipe Totec (Our Lord the Flayed One), God of spring, renewal and war


ca. 1500

Accession Date




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