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Disk depicting a dismembered Coyolxāuhqui which was found during construction in 1978 in Mexico City. Its discovery led to the excavation of the Templo Mayor.
Original coloration of the stone disk, based on chemical traces of pigments.

In Aztec mythology, Coyolxāuhqui (Nahuatl pronunciation: [kojoɬˈʃaːʍki], "face painted with bells"[citation needed]) was a daughter of Cōātlīcue and Mixcoatl and is the leader of the Centzon Huitznahuas, the southern star gods. Coyolxāuhqui ruled over her brothers, the Four Hundred Southerners, she led them in attack against their mother, Cōātlīcue, when they learned she was pregnant, convinced she dishonored them all.[1]


Attack on CoatlicueEdit

Head of Coyolxauhqui from the National Museum of Antropology, Mexico City

The miraculous pregnancy of Coatlicue, the maternal Earth deity, made her other children embarrassed, including her oldest daughter Coyolxauhqui. As Coatlicue swept the temple, a few hummingbird feathers fell into her chest. Coatlicue’s child Huitzilopochtli sprang from her womb in full war armor and killed Coyolxauhqui and her other 400 brothers, who had been attacking their mother. He cut off her limbs, then tossed her head into the sky where it became the moon, so that his mother would be comforted in seeing her daughter in the sky every night.

Templo Mayor stone diskEdit

A large shield-shaped stone relief reflecting this story was found at the base of the stairs of the Templo Mayor. On this disk, Coyolxauhqui is shown spread out on her side, with her head, arms and legs chopped away from her body. Her position in the stone carving may represent the full moon. But other scholars believe that she should be understood as the Goddess of the Milky Way, or be associated with patterns of other stars[2] associated with Huitzilopochtli. She is distinguished by bells in her hair, a bell symbol on her cheek, and an ear tab showing the Mexica year sign. As with images of her mother, she is shown with a skull tied to her belt. Scholars also believe that the decapitation and destruction of Coyolxauhqui is reflected in the pattern of warrior ritual sacrifice. First, captives’ hearts were cut out. Then the bodies were cast from the temple. At the bottom of the stairs, near the Coyolxauhqui stone, the bodies were decapitated and dismembered.

A replica of the Templo Mayor disk sits on City Terrace Drive in East Los Angeles.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Legend of Coatlicue & Coyolxauhqui". Inside Mexico. Retrieved 2015-10-29. 
  2. ^ The New Tenochtitlan Templo Mayor Coyolxauhqui-Chantico Monument, H. B. Nicholson p 84
  • Duran, Fray Diego (Doris Heyden, translator). The History of the Indies of New Spain. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman Oklahoma, 1994.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Coyolxāuhqui at Wikimedia Commons