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Currently shown

Seated Old Man, possibly the Old Fire God

Location

MEXICO, CENTRAL VERACRUZ

Era

Classic Veracruz (100 B.C.E.-1000 C.E.)

Culture

Classic Veracruz

Title

Seated Old Man, possibly the Old Fire God

Date

300-900 C.E.

Materials

Earthenware

Dimensions

33.8 x 29 x 29 cm

Credits

Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1975.Ac.5

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

The old god is one of the most ancient of Mesoamerican deities. Living in the underworld, he was associated with volcanoes and played the vital role of keeping the household hearth’s fire burning. He appeared in the iconographic repertoire, depicted as a seated old man with a wrinkled face and bent back, in the highlands of central Mexico over 2,500 years ago. That image persisted until the Aztec era in the sixteenth century. His connection with fire was often underscored by the presence of a brasero, or brazier, on his head. Because of the absence of that feature, this may instead be a figure linked to the old god, such as an ancestor or priest.

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