Which Aztec god is the central face of the Aztec Cosmos?
No one seems to know. We have some theories based on the study of the Azteca culture, but it's still guess work. The central face is probably that of a sun god. It could be an earth god or even a death god. Because of the frontal view, we know that it is probably an earth god such as this guy here, Tlaltecuhtli.
Whatever your views of this god, he would make an excellent tattoo. If you want me to add the colors, I would be happy to, just contact me and we will work something out. If you do use one of these aztec designs for a tattoo, please send me a photo!
Colorizing the tattoo designs
I can custom color my designs. The Aztecs loved bright colors and so do I. One of the things about digitizing the tattoos is that I can change the coloring at will. If you like greens for instance, I can mix and match all shades of green to give you a custom design.
This Aztec god is an earth god and sort of resembles a frog to me. So I gave him green colors and some red for emphasis. The Aztecs did not always draw a face when they wanted to represent the earth. They often used animals to represent the gods.
Full frontal views are characteristic of the gods and goddesses of Earth or Death.
Aztec animal tattoos, tribal type tattoos of Jaguars and Eagles and other Mesoamerican animals
The Aztec Ocelot or Jaguar
This fierce cat was considered one of the Aztec Day Gods
The Fourteenth Aztec day god is an Ocelot or a Jaguar. This cat was very mystical to the Mesoamerican tribes. Its fur pelt was used to cover the thrones of priests and high officials of the tribal rulers. These guys also draped themselves in the skin of the ocelot. The Aztec sometimes described the night sky as a very large jaguar coat, spotted with stars. Even the Nahuatl name for the ocelot is the same as the Nahuatl name for shaman priests. They are called Ix (pronounced Eesh). A Jaguar tattoo would be a very powerful tat to have as this animal is the most venerated of the native American and Mesoamerican tribes.
The Lizard - The God of the 4th day of the Aztec Cosmos
Red and Blue are the colors of the Aztec Lizard. The lizard is not to be confuse with the serpent of the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl. The lizard stands alone as a qualified day God of the Aztec Cosmos. Red and Blue are the chosen colors for this animal. He does tend to blend into the background a bit, but doesn't it seem as if he knows all and sees all? Lizards make great tattoos! They can slither around an ankle or crawl on your shoulder. They should be bright and lively looking, don't you think?
Deer, Rabbit, Dog, Monkey, and Eagles
Deer hunters can certainly appreciate tatts of stylized deer. Other hunters might prefer rabbits and other animals. The Aztec Eagle tattoo can be seen as patriotic, being both a mascot for Mexico and the United States. Eagles are also venerated by Native American tribes.
Aztec Flower Tattoos, the Aztec and Mayan Light Glyph
Recently, an unknown fan wrote to me and sent a photo of her body art which is a tattoo of my logo! She had stumbled across my page and liked the design so much that she had it permanently inked into her skin! Needless to say, I was impressed. She gave me permission to use the photo of her tattoo. Her photo is included in the slide show above.
The Aztec Star Glyph looks like a flower and is sometimes called the Aztec Flower. But it is a true light, or star glyph. It is a frequent tattoo design and a good one to use as a base or border. Most people look at this design and see a flower, but it's actually a bright star glyph with an eyebrow. It represents Totonametl and is also known as a flaming arrow. It carries the calendar name - One Reed.
The stars were very important to Mesoamericans. Venus, the rising star, was probably the most recognized glyph design of the native Americans.
The Aztec god most associated with Venus and the star glyph is Quetzalcoatl himself - the Feathered Serpent. The journey of Venus as an evening star and then as a rising star is the model for the myth of Quetzalcoatl, the god who travels into and throughout the underworld, conquers the forces of darkness and death and returns as the rising star.
The Feathered Serpent
Since a lot of folks like snake tattoos, here is the twisted form of Quetzalcoatl's graphic design. I have painted this design and it has sold, but there is no reason why someone could not put this in ink as a tattoo.
Feel free to play with colors. The Aztecs loved bright colors. Some colors make better skin art than other colors. I'm sure there is a tattoo artist that can do this design well.
Serpent and flower tattoos
The Aztecs were accomplished farmers and lovers of beauty. It was natural for them to grow many plants and use them for many different purposes. Some plants were used for religious reasons.
The flower glyph represents one of the days of the Aztec Cosmos or calendar. It is a day named for some type of plant or flower.
The capitol city of the Aztecs was surrounded by an unbelievable collection of floating gardens in the lake. The Spaniards were amazed by this huge garden and it was often cited as one of the wonders of the mesoamerican world.
Serpents and snakes were also worshiped by the Aztecs as well as other mesoamerican natives. They even thought Cortes was a re-incarnation of their god Quetzalcoatl.
Cipactli, the Earth Monster
Cipactli a great little glyph that would make an interesting tatto!
Cipactli is an Earth creature that represents the first day god of the Aztec Cosmos. Some people refer to the Cosmos as the Sun Stone, so you should have an idea of what that looks like. If not, just Google the Aztec Sun Stone and you will see the whole thing.
The glyph of Cipactli is drawn with an upper jaw only. He has sharp teeth and a heavy eyebrow. I think maybe some other civilizations know Cipactli as a dragon. But Quetzalcoatl could have been a dragon too.
The Aztec Light Glyph
The second most important glyph of the Mesoamerican Natives is the light glyph.
This glyph has several meanings and is drawn something like a flint knife. This represents the flint itself, a spark, the light from the spark, knowledge and sacrifice.
Yep, those crazy warriors used flint a lot, most notably to cut the beating heart out of a sacrificial victim! Yikes! What a way to go.
The Light Glyph really fascinates me for some reason. It's easy to draw and will make a very interesting tattoo!
Aztec Fire Glyph Tattoos
A glyph of fire was the symbol of the New Fire Ceremony.
The Aztecs measured the years by a fifty-two year cycle using four periods of thirteen years each. Each thirteen year period had a god, a color, and a direction associated with it.
The Aztec gods took turns carrying the thirteen year periods. At the end of each thirteen year period, that god's glyph was symbolized by tying the years together with a knot. After four knots, or 52 years, the new fire ceremony was performed.
All home fires were put out, all old pots were broken, and all homes were swept clean. The Aztecs waited for the Pleiades constellation to cross the mid heaven mark and then the New Fire Ceremony would be celebrated by lighting all new fires everywhere. Kind of like fireworks are lit today for New Year.
The Aztec calendar combines three cycles: the sacred year consisting of 260 days; the solar year of 365 days, and the Venus year consisting of 584 days.
A great booklet on Aztec illustrations:
I found an excellent resource for tattoo illustrations regarding Aztec and Mayan designs. The booklet is called, The Aztec Cosmos by Tomas F. Filsinger. I had to write to him to get my copy. He would appreciate an email.
Feathered Serpent Quality T-Shirt
Aztec Cosmos T-shirt
Small Aztec design tattoo