By Richard Balthazar
(In addition to the following color images, there are now new black & white images of many Aztec deities available for the coloring book YE GODS! Click here to view.)
The images in this gallery are in four colors (plus b/w), originally done in colored pencil, in the period 1989-92. The four colors are integral in the Aztec world: red—blood, green—jade, blue—turquoise, and gold—gold. Included in the gallery are:
21 gods. All but Huitzilopochtli are patrons of Aztec weeks. (As God of War, he was the main deity of the Aztecs but not part of the more ancient calendar.) Now you can also see some of these deities in complete icons prepared for the coloring book, YE GODS! Check them out from the list on that page.
20 day-signs. The Aztec month had 20 named days, in a strict order like our seven Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.
20 weeks. In the sacred Turquoise Year the days of the week were numbered 1-13 through 20 cycles covering 13 months (for a total of 260 days).
1 Stone of the Suns. The ‘coloration’ and some of the detailing in the original design are my own inventions. I think the white areas emphasize the radiant sun in the center and the encircling sky-serpents. (The central sun-god Tonatiuh’s tongue is actually the sacrificial knife, indicative of his hunger for sacrificed victims. Well, different strokes for different…)
For more information about any of these things, check out my book or just google it. I’m not making this stuff up, even if I did imagineer the outrageous images. Please be advised that licensing rights for these images to be used on clothing, cards, calendars, etc., can be easily obtained from the artist, i.e., moi.
Speaking of clothing, I recently had an odd experience: I met a friend who was wearing a t-shirt that made me do a double take. There was my image of Huehuecoyotl, the Old Coyote, exactly (and appropriately since He’s a trickster). Someone had obviously snitched it out of my book many years ago. It was an old t-shirt from a rummage sale, and he gave it to me as a souvenir. Isn’t copyright infringement the sincerest form of flattery?
At any rate, something else I’d like to see happen with these images is a public mural or twenty. The deities are already outlined and on a large scale could be painted with ease, even by younger children (with supervision). Admittedly, some might be a tad horrific for murals, but some like Xochiquetzal, Flower Feather, are sweet enough. I do like Tecciztecatl, the Old Man Moon!
But if I had to be an Aztec god, I’d be Xochipilli, the Prince of Flowers. For one thing, He’s the god of dance! For another, to quote myself, He’s “the god of beauty and peace, ecstasy, sleep and dreams, as well as of flowers, gardens, and agriculture.” Those things being (in my humble opinion), descriptive of myself, I chose His Efflorescence as the ‘figure-head’ on my homepage.