A number of outlets including Smithsonian Magazine and the Associated Press are reporting that Mexican archaeologists have uncovered the first temple of an important pre-Columbian deity, the “Flayed Lord,” a New World version of the slain and risen God. It’s believed that clergy offered human lives as sacrifices to the Flayed Lord, skinning victims after they’d been killed and dressing the image of the God in their skins and donning skins themselves. The Associated Press story begins:
“Mexican experts have found the first temple of the Flayed Lord, a pre-Hispanic fertility god depicted as a skinned human corpse, authorities said Wednesday.
“Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History said the find was made during recent excavations of Popoloca Indian ruins in the central state of Puebla.
“The institute said experts found two skull-like stone carvings and a stone trunk depicting the god, Xipe Totec. It had an extra hand dangling off one arm, suggesting the god was wearing the skin of a sacrificial victim.
“Priests worshipped Xipe Totec by skinning human victims and then donning their skins. The ritual was seen as a way to ensure fertility and regeneration.”
Read the whole bloody story: https://www.apnews.com/e4e92bc35ead46309f632ec12df8ddf8.
Smithsonian Magazine provides more details:
“Xipe wore multiple hats. ‘Recent treatments of this deity by Americanists have tended to discuss him either primarily as a god of the renewal of vegetation in the spring (i.e., as a fertility figure), as a god of liberation (i.e., particularly, as a penitential figure), as the central figure in a cult of “trophy skins,” … even as a phallic god,’ Franke J. Neumann of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University details in a paper about Xipe published in the History of Religions journal.
“The deity was intimately connected to the Earth’s cycle of regeneration. As such, human sacrifices took place in the spring, during the festival of Tlacaxipehualiztli, to ensure a fruitful harvest. The flayed skins, which rotted away to reveal a living human beneath them, represented fresh plants emerging from decayed husks.”
Read the whole piece: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/temple-flayed-lord-found-mexico-180971165/.
Thanks to Soror Amy for the tip!