This is the Aztec rain god Tlaloc. The image is based on the Codex Borgia, a Precolumbian manuscript that was created by neighbors of the Aztec. The rain god, with his goggled eyes and big teeth, was widespread throughout the cultures of Central Mexico. Prevalent in the earlier civilization of Teotihuacan, his characteristics derive ultimately from the Olmec.


The Mexican artist and anthropologist Miguel Covarrubius created an ingenious diagram showing the derivation of Tlaloc from the Olmec "were-jaguar" through successive stages of intervening cultures. For an adaption see Taube (2004b:Fig.14) (available as a free electronic download at the website of Dumbarton Oaks: click the link for Olmec Art at Dumbarton Oaks).

A full-color restoration of the Codex Borgia is available from Dover Publications.

Twin temples to Tlaloc and the war-god Huitzilopochtli crowned the Templo Mayor in the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan.