- Regarding Yolohtzin's question:
>Does anyone know which foot of Tezcatlipoca's was replaced with aTezcatlipoca is usually represented with a SERPENT foot. I
can't recall if such a serpent foot was either the right or the
left or if there was any preference for one over the other, for
that matter. As far as I know, however, none of Tezcatlipoca's
feet was ever replaced by a smoking mirror. It is the name of
this deity itself that actually means "smoking mirror", but I
cannot recall whether that was shown graphically in
representations of it.
If a Maya reference is of any use, however, the Maya deity
K'awiil could be thought of as a possible early origin of the
later Tezcatlipoca. K'awiil is often depicted with a serpent foot
(sometimes in the most dramatic fashion, as in many a Codex-style
vessel where the dominant character in a scene is often the
enormous serpent foot which opens its jaws to vomit a variety of
deities or coils inside and out whole buildings). One of its most
ubiquitous representations is the so-called Mannequin Scepter,
which is nothing but a K'awiil effigy that is wielded as a symbol
of royal power. To the Maya, nevertheless, it seems there was no
preference as to which leg turns into a serpent (on Yaxchilan
Lintels 1, 3 and 42, for example, K'awiil's serpent foot is the
right, while on Stela 11 and Lintel 32, the serpent is shown as
emerging from the left leg). As to the smoking mirror, K'awiil is
always shown with a mirror on his forehead, from which either a
smoke scroll, an axe or a smoking torch emerges.
Jorge P=E9rez de Lara
- To All,
It looks like the left foot. Since I don't know if I can attach
files to Aztlan, I have posted a drawing fron the Codex
Fejervary-Meyer at www.mayavase.com/tez.html. The drawing is
lifted from The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya
by Mary Miller and Karl Taube.
>To All,It is the left foot but it is not a "mirror."
>It looks like the left foot. Since I don't know if I can attach
>files to Aztlan, I have posted a drawing fron the Codex
>Fejervary-Meyer at www.mayavase.com/tez.html. The drawing is
>lifted from The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya
>by Mary Miller and Karl Taube.
In the Nuttall page 9... Tlaloc/Tezcatlipoca with the "mirror"
leg, is emerging from a cog rimmed sky wheel with nineteen units
of 20 degrees or the circumference of a circle 360 degrees.
The jaguar headdress indicates that he is a sky person, his
red/white eyes says a star... how the stars were seen by mortals
was in pools of water.. The great ball game is a star game (as
the constellations pass around the sky).. The water viewing of
the stars is in the next picture below it and it shows that the
leg (as above) is in a bowl or cauldron of water... The cauldron
shows up in the Madrid more than once as a location of a star
god... and its abreviated form is an reversed arc with two "teeth"
in the center hanging down and a circle on either side of the
"teeth"... the same image as an upright cauldron in that codex.
The Maya and Aztecs did not have telescopes but water magnifies
the stars...except when the moon is full and it will supercede
the stars, filling the whole area with its whiteness.
As a note to previous statement that "flowers were not considered
to be stars"
Burr C. Brundage (The Fifth Sun) states in his book that the stars
of the Milky Way were thought of as flower branches on the tree...
but the gods destroyed the tree (by cutting it through) and
scattering the "flowers". Of course there is a break in the Milky
Way which is filled with stars but most are obscured by the gasses
of the comet or asteroid that passed through the area at one time.
D. M. Urquidi
D. M. Urquidi
P. O. Box 49485
Austin, Texas 78775-9485
Re: The Severed Foot/Leg of Tezcatilpoca
I wonder what theogonic significance attaches to which foot of
Tezcatlipoca is the severed one? Does Heather have any
Some Listeros have suggested a right severed foot for
Tezcatlipoca, others the left, depending on which depiction of
the god is being discussed. But as Thompson (Notes on Middle Am
Ar & Eth 1942:48) once noted, sometimes Tezcatlipoca is shown
with both feet intact! This leaves us with a problem of
describing the traits of this god that J. Paddock (Ethonohistory
1985:309) tried to wrestle with in trying to pin down his
definitive attributes, as opposed to his frequent, and occasional
The contention is that since Tezcatlipoca is sometimes depicted
with both feet intact, the severed foot characteristic may not by
itself be sufficient to identify the god, nor the "smoking mirror"
which frequently replaces the missing foot which is the glyph
(Thompson) for the god's name. Paddock then warns of the logical
circle that awaits anyone who tries to securely classify this
deity in simple trait terms. But I think if one looks at the
god's apparent life history, as one ordinarily is said to acquire,
or even lose certain traits, this puzzle may be resolvable.
More recently, Mary H. Helms (Jour of Latin Am Lore 1997:307)
connects the severing-foot theme with the broaching and contacting
of barriers or boundaries; e.g., Cipactli rising to the surface
of the water, and Tezcatlipoca (the jaguar) dangling his foot
into the water in the basic myth. Also of interest in this
connection is her mention of Tezcatlipoca's birth (2 Acatl) from
Flint (i.e., Ometeotl) as shown in the codex Borgia showing one
leg of the god emerging from a stone knife and the other leg with
missing foot over the waters -- said to be expressive by all
things that coil around themselves in spiral fashion (e.g., the
rotation mentioned by Sam Edgerton). This also recalls the
recounting of the Birth of Flint as it extends into the Maya
region (see Ritual of the Bacabs).
Helms also notes that Huitzilopoctli (hummingbird on the left),
as a personification of Tezcatlipoca, was portrayed with the left
leg as withered, or in serpent form. This complication involves
the entire leg, not just the foot, and brings to mind God K, the
Maya counterpart to Tezcatlipoca mentioned by Jorge de Lara. This
in turn can be compared to the well known carvings in the Temple
of the Warriors at Chichen Itza depicting five persons with
severed legs above the knee (Thompson), perhaps signaling the
"arrival" of the god at Chichen Itza.
As an interesting sideline, various Yucatec Maya are said to
still honor God K (as wind god) in a special celebration on
January 21 using turkeys as offerings (cited in Helms) -- any
Listeros have the details on this celebration?
One final observation, it has been noted that in the Codex
Vaticanus A there is a physiological connection between the left
foot and the fourteenth day sign Ocelotl which is appropriate for
Tezcatlipoca whose the nagual is the jaguar (see e.g.,
Tepeyollotl in Codex Borbonicus 3).
- A slight correction to my math... one can tell I am not a
the 20 units in the circle are 19.94 degrees each which make up
a 360 circle. He is as Jim Gomez inferred... that he is shown
without a foot because it indicates that the god is coming out of
Water and pools of water were used to measure the stars (See the
wall mural of Atetelco... there are two representations of the
measuring pools with black vs white sections for measurements).
And if Tezcatlipoca is the night sky, the water base is just to
say that he (the skies) can be seen in the waters (and measured