Xipe Totec

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Xipe Totec

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What you need to know

In Aztec mythology and religion, Xipe Totec (Xpe Totc) was a life-death-rebirth deity, god of agriculture, vegetation, the east, disease, spring, goldsmiths, silversmiths, liberation and the seasons. Xipe Totec was also known by various other names, including Tlatlauhca, Tlatlauhqui Tezcatlipoca and Youalahuan. The Tlaxcaltecs and the Huexotzincas worshipped a version of the deity under the name of Camaxtli, and the god has been identified with Yopi, a Zapotec god represented on Classic Period urns.The female equivalent of Xipe Totec was the goddess Xilonen-Chicomecoatl.

Xipe Totec connected agricultural renewal with warfare. He flayed himself to give food to humanity, symbolic of the way maize seeds lose their outer layer before germination and of snakes shedding their skin. Without his skin, he was depicted as a golden god. Xipe Totec was believed by the Aztecs to be the god that invented war. His insignia included the pointed cap and rattle staff, which was the war attire for the Mexica emperor. He had a temple called Yopico within the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan. Xipe Totec is associated with pimples, inflammation and eye diseases, and possibly plague. Xipe Totec has a strong relation to diseases such as smallpox, blisters and eye sickness and if someone suffered from these diseases offerings were made to him.

This deity is of uncertain origin. Xipe Totec was widely worshipped in central Mexico at the time of the Spanish Conquest, and was known throughout most of Mesoamerica. Representations of the god have been found as far away as Mayapan in the Yucatn Peninsula.The worship of Xipe Totec was common along the Gulf Coast during the Early Postclassic. The deity probably became an important Aztec god as a result of the Aztec conquest of the Gulf Coast in the middle of the fifteenth century.

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