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Relief with Maize Goddess (Chicomecóatl)

Arts of the Americas

On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The Americas’ First Peoples, 4000 B.C.E.–1521 C.E.
The importance of maize (corn) and chocolate, two of the many plants native to the Americas, is exemplified by these Aztec sculptures.

The relief panel of the maize goddess Chicomecóatl may have been set into an altar. Chicomecóatl controlled the positive and negative powers of growth and famine. Her elaborate headdress is topped by two ears of corn. In her right hand, she holds a snake-shaped rattle staff, used to penetrate and fertilize the soil.

The man carrying a cacao pod may represent one of the merchants who brought cacao beans from the tropical coastal lowlands to the Valley of Mexico. Chocolate, made from the beans of the cacao pod, was a popular drink in Aztec society.
CULTURE Aztec
MEDIUM Stone
DATES 1440-1521
DIMENSIONS 15 1/2 x 11 3/4 x 3 3/8 in. (39.4 x 29.8 x 8.6 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
EXHIBITIONS
ACCESSION NUMBER 51.109
CREDIT LINE A. Augustus Healy Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION Aztec. Relief with Maize Goddess (Chicomecóatl), 1440-1521. Stone, 15 1/2 x 11 3/4 x 3 3/8 in. (39.4 x 29.8 x 8.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, A. Augustus Healy Fund, 51.109. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 51.109.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 51.109.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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