Mesoamerica | Frida, Diego & The Muralists
Chicana/o Art | Mictlan | Nepantla Aesthetics

Coatlicue, National Antropology Museum
Mexico City


"Coatlicue depicts the contradictory. In her figure, all the symbols important to the religion and philosophy of the Aztecs are integrated. Like Medusa, the Gorgon, she is a symbol of the fusion of opposities; the eagle and the serpent, heaven and the underworld, life and death, mobility and immobility, beauty and horror. …When we are not living up to our potentialities and thereby impeding the evolution of the soul--or worse, Coatlicue, the Earth, opens and plunges us into its maw, devours us. By keeping the conscious mind occupied, or immobile, the germination work takes place in the deep, dark earth of the unconscious." (Borderlands, p. 47)

The Coatlicue State references one of Aztec cosmology's most powerful symbol of female/earth/fertility. Coatlicue, she of the serpent skirt, mother of Huitzilopochtli, earth mother and symbol of internal, hidden earth power.

In Chicana/o art the symbol of Coatlicue is found at the core of the most important, seminal, transcultural images that informed an evolving iconography of fusion, resistance and oppositional consciousness.