Xipe Totec, pronounced as "shee-peh toh-tek," is an Aztec deity often referred to as "The Flayed God." This name originates from the god's most distinctive feature – his representation draped in the skin of a sacrificial victim. Despite its unsettling imagery, this symbol holds profound significance within Aztec cosmology.
Xipe Totec embodies themes of renewal, transformation, and agricultural fertility. His flayed skin serves as a metaphor for shedding the old to reveal the new, much like the cycles of crops sprouting afresh each season. Consequently, he is closely associated with agriculture and the perpetual cycles of life and death, which were fundamental elements of the Aztec worldview.
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Xipe Totec held another remarkable role in Aztec culture – he was revered as the god of goldsmiths. This dual nature, symbolising both renewal and craftsmanship, adds a layer of fascination to the deity's mythological significance.
As the god of goldsmiths, Xipe Totec was the patron deity of artisans who worked with precious metals, particularly gold. Gold held a special place in Aztec society, signifying wealth, power, and divine connection. The Aztec goldsmiths were skilled artisans who crafted intricate jewellery and ceremonial objects that played pivotal roles in religious rituals and everyday life.
The synergy between Xipe Totec's roles as the god of renewal and the god of goldsmiths is apparent in the creation of jewellery and ornaments. These artisans, inspired by the symbolism of their deity, crafted exquisite pieces that not only showcased their remarkable skill but also embodied the cyclical themes of transformation and rebirth.
As we explore the world of vintage Mesoamerican jewellery, let's take a moment to appreciate a magnificent piece created in homage to the Flayed God. Our Vintage 18ct Yellow Gold Xipe Totec necklace is a rare and stunning representation of the of this fascinating Mexican God. It is the largest necklace we have been able to find, as usually they are offered as one mask only in pendant form. An impressive eleven linked masks with ornamental moving nose jewellery, drop bells make an opulent and gorgeously musical wearable artwork. The delicate craftsmanship and attention to detail in this necklace evoke the spirit of the Aztec goldsmiths who once crafted jewellery in reverence to Xipe Totec.