Scientific study of Mexican turquoise mosaics, £12.99
Height: 19.500 cm
Width: 16.500 cm
Gift of Manuel Gamio, on behalf of the Government of Mexico
Room 27: Mexico
Pottery vessel of the Storm God
Teotihuacan, 150 BC - AD
Ritual water jar
The Storm God portrayed at Teotihuacan was later known to the Aztec as the Rain God Tlaloc. Its main characteristics are 'goggle' eyes and fangs protruding from the corners of a curled upper lip. Similar features are present in this pottery vessel, although the eyes, shape of the lip and position of the body are atypical compared to other known pieces. Some of them have arms and short legs attached to the body.
Representations of the Storm God are quite frequent at Teotihuacan, which suggests that he was an important god in the city's pantheon. His image also appears in stone and mural paintings, often shown in profile, although it is possible that, in some cases, the figures depicted are impersonators rather than the god himself. Effigy vessels, similar to this example, were usually found in burials. They may have been used as ritual water jars in certain ceremonies, some of which are represented on mural paintings.
This vessel was presented to The British Museum by Manuel Gamio, one of the first scientifically trained archaeologists in Mexico. He carried out large scale excavations at Teotihuacan between 1917 and 1922.
W. Bray and L. Manzanilla (eds.), The archaeology of Mesoamerica (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)
K. Berrin and E. Pasztory (eds.), Teotihuacan: art from the city (Thames and Hudson, 1993)
C. McEwan, Ancient Mexico in the British (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)