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Head of Xiuhcoatl - Texcoco, on the east side of the lake on which the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, was founded. - British Museum.

Xiuhcoatl is a dragon in Aztec mythology and the personification of drought and scorched earth.


Xiuhcoatl, the Fire Serpent has the head of a serpent, short legs finishing in claws and a curved snout. The end of the figure's tail is formed by the conventional Mexican year symbol (xihuitl): a triangle, like the solar ray sign, and two entwined trapezes.



The Fire Serpent is commonly represented in Aztec art in a variety of media, including codices (screenfold books). It is used for example, as a back ornament for Xiuhtecuhtli, the fire god and lord of the year , and Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec patron god..

  • It was a ritual object in sacred ceremonies such as the New Fire ceremony, represented in the form of an incense burner with a long handle.
  • On the other hand, it was the weapon that Huitzilopochtli used to decapitate Coyolxauhqui at Coatepec hill.


  • M. E. Miller and K. Taube, An illustrated dictionary of t (London, Thames and Hudson, 1997)
  • E. Pasztory, Aztec art (New York, Abrams, 1983)
  • H.B. Nicholson and E. Quiñones Keber, Art of Aztec Mexico, treasures (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1983)
  • C. McEwan, Ancient Mexico in the British (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)