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Mexico

Xipe Totec (God of Goldsmiths) twentieth century

Gold | RCIN 74322

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  • A model (facsimile) gold mask of Xipe Totec, the Aztec 'God of Goldsmiths', made for a human face. Crowned and with pierced ears, with a leaf-shaped ornament through the nose. In a cream bark cloth-covered box with two front opening doors, lined with blue velvet and satin with a brass plaque inside.

    Xipe Totec was patron of metalworkers of all kinds, but particularly associated with goldsmiths. He was also the god of vegetation, spring and agricultural renewal, and was thought to have flayed skin like maize seeds which shed their outer covering prior to new growth.
    Provenance

    Given to Queen Elizabeth II by Mexican National Institure of Anthropology and History during the State Visit to Mexico in 1975. The mask is a modern reproduction of one found at Monte Alban in Oaxaca and dating from the pre-Columbian era. It was discovered in 'Tomb 7', one of the richest Mesoamerican archaeological sites, by Alfonso Caso, who began large-scale excavations there in 1931. 

  • Medium and techniques

    Gold

  • Alternative title(s)

    God of the Goldsmiths

    Mask