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Xochipilli: Unveiling the spiritual concepts of a Nahua deity
Renteria, Jose Alejandro
De Vos, Paula S.
Colston, Stephen A.Iglesias-Prieto, Norma
Among the multitude of pre-Cuauhtémoc deities of Central Mexico, Xochipilli, the “Noble of Flowers,” stands out as a god who inspired key humanistic forms of expression. As patron of flower, song, and dance he held a fundamental role within Nahua society’s vibrant ritual performances. Yet, Xochipilli remains as one of the most understudied deities despite his importance to ancient Náhuatl speaking peoples. Basic attempts at seeking information on Xochipilli prove to be challenging as well. Aside from being an obscure figure within surviving source materials, he has also been misinterpreted in several ways. These conditions call for a much needed historical reexamination of the deity. This thesis attempts to explain how Nahua speaking peoples conceived of, and revered, Xochipilli. First, it argues that the Florentine Codex (1580), otherwise known as the Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España, provides a distorted, colonial depiction for Xochipilli. The study offers a deconstruction of the monumental source to illustrate how Xochipilli’s textual representation became fragmented over time. Next, it explains how Xochipilli functioned as god of in xochitl, in cuicatl “flower and song.” An analysis of song compositions within the Cantares mexicanos (ca. 1585-1597) and the Romances de los señores de la Nueva España (1582) illustrates how Nahua society conceptualized Xochipilli’s interactions and domain as patron of flower and song. Lastly, the study provides an interdisciplinary reconstruction of Xochipilli’s ritual observance. This section specifically offers a reassessment on one of the most recognized depictions of the deity, the Tlalmanalco statue of Xochipilli (ca. 1250-1521), arguing that this archeological relic served a practical purpose during religious processions that honored the deity. Overall, the present study provides an overdue assessment on Xochipilli.
Latin American Studies
Arts and Letters
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2017
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