Saturday, November 7, 2015

Quotes from _The Flower and the Scorpion_ #56

"Take the example of the goddess of water and floods, Chalchiuhtlicue. In the Codex Tonalamatl Aubin we find an extraordinary and obscure image that signifies the relationship of Chalchiuhtlicue and Tlazolteotl with tlazolli (figure 27). There we see Chalchiuhtlicue with Tlazolteotl's head emanating from between her legs like an outstretched penis. The image may represent Chalchiuhtlicue giving birth to Tlazolteotl, but at the same time, the goddess of tlazolli's long neck has become Chalchiuhtlicue's phallus. In Chalchiuhtlicue's more standard image, like that of the Codex Borbonicus (figure 28), we see her unleashing the floods from beneath her throne, and we witness people caught in the torrents of water." Her nose ornament serves to present her as a fertility goddess, and one of the images across from her is Tlazolteotl's headdress. Here the people caught in the stream may be a man and a woman sacrificed to the goddess, although they may also symbolize men and women born to the cleansing effects of Chalchiuhtlicue's water. (When midwives bathed newborns, they would call upon Chalchiuhtlicue.)
Chalchiuhtlicue controls the water and bathes the newborn child, ridding her/him of dirt. The important ceremony, bringing the child into the world, was partially controlled by this goddess, and, by implication, by Tlazolteotl as well. The two were paired, as the art historian Eloise Quinones-Keber maintains, because of the association between dirt and cleanliness. Tlazolteotl's "dual association with generation and filth is recognized; the latter is part of her name.... Thus the pairing of Tlaztolteotl teotl and Chalchiuhtlicue ... may have been intended for contrasting purposes, one representing filth, the other the cleansing with water that followed"

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