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Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xxv ] Tezcatlipoca, the Smoking Mirror, was one of the four great creator-gods of M esoamerican religions , who arranged the universe and set the cosmic ages in motion through periodic celestial battles which resulted in periods of stability called ‘Suns’ ( see C emanahuac ) [2: 80–101]. Tezcatlipoca was sometimes cast as the supernatural antagonist of Q uetzalcoatl , the deity associated with cultural creativity, urban order and wisdom. Yet Tezcatlipoca has the most overwhelming power and protean personality of any Mesoamerican deity. His many forms reflect the omnipotent character of the numinous forces of central Mesoamerican religion. Among his aspects were Itztli, a calendar god; Tepeyollotl, an ancient jaguar–earth god; Ixquimilli–Itztlacoliuhqui, a god of punishment; and Omacatl, the spirit of revelry. The Smoking Mirror stood for the contradictory forces of youthful vitality and ferocious darkness. According to the Toltec tradition ( see T ollan ), Tezcatlipoca drew his uncanny powers from his major accoutrement, an obsidian mirror which cast a magical spell over the Toltec king T opiltzin quetzalcoatl , resulting in the downfall of the kingdom and the reintroduction of H uman sacrifice into ceremonial practices. [6: 371–92] ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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