Skip Navigation

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.
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
CREDIT LINE A. Augustus Healy Fund
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
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
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.