This figural urn portrays an elegant and proud finely sculpted face surmounted by an extremely ornate and layered symbolic headdresses. It is covered in rich orange-red pigment that gives equal measure to the chiseled features of the idealized youthful face, and the massive headdress of the Butterfly God.
The Butterfly god is identified by feather rimmed eyes and the tightly coiled proboscis rising above. An additional nahualli of the Jaguar god is shown with the snarling and fanged mouth mask centered between. The figure is adorned with characteristic arching plumes, tassels and beaded jewelry. The butterfly is associated with warfare and rebirth, perhaps linked to its resilience and transformative nature.
The Butterfly god is a direct influence from Teotihuacan, the equally powerful city reigning in the Classic era. Images of the butterfly appear on massive headdresses shown in murals, mirror-backs and incensarios in the Palace of Quetzapapltotl ('Quetzal-Butterfly') in Teotihuacan. For examples of similar figural urns of the deity with the Butterfly God headdress, see Boos, the Ceramic Sculptures of Ancient Oaxaca, 1966, figs. 106, 110 & 112.
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