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The Bilimek Pulque Vessel: Starlore, Calendrics, and Cosmology of Late Postclassic Central Mexico

  • Karl A. Taube (a1)

Abstract

The Bilimek Vessel is among the most remarkable pieces of portable Aztec sculpture, and it contains an unusually complex body of imagery concerning starlore and cosmic battle. The Bilimek Vessel and other Aztec sources reveal that the alcoholic beverage pulque was well integrated into Aztec concepts of warfare and mythology. To the Aztec, pulque was identified with the souls of dead warriors and the starry night sky. The many figures appearing on the Bilimek Vessel represent star beings attacking the sun. At least three and probably four of the depicted deities are identical to the sky bearers appearing in the year-bearer pages of the Codex Borgia (see Seler 1963) and Codex Vaticanus B (see Seler 1902–1903). It is noted that much of the iconography and calendrics appearing on the Bilimek Vessel concerns the completion of the 52-year cycle and the New Fire ceremony, an event that symbolized the cosmic battle between the sun and the fearsome tzitzimime star demons of darkness.

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The Bilimek Pulque Vessel: Starlore, Calendrics, and Cosmology of Late Postclassic Central Mexico

  • Karl A. Taube (a1)

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