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 Museum Explorer

Birds and beasts in
the Americas

A two-headed serpent

Height: 20.5 cm
Width: 43.5 cm
Depth: 5 cm


AOA 1894-634

A two-headed serpent

From: Mexico (Aztec/Mixtec)
Date: 15th-16th century AD

This large serpent has been carved from wood then covered in small pieces of precious turquoise mosaic. It was probably worn at special ceremonies, and would have hung from a cord around the neck.

The Aztec word for serpent was coatl and serpents were very important in Aztec religion. Several Aztec gods were linked with serpents, such as Quetzalcoatl (Feathered Serpent), Xiuhcoatl (Fire Serpent), Mixcoatl (Cloud Serpent) and Coatlicue (She of the Serpent Skirt).