Mark Cartwright
published on 06 September 2013
Available in other languages: French, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish
Xochipilli (by Dennis Jarvis, CC BY-SA)
Dennis Jarvis (CC BY-SA)

Xochipilli or the 'Prince of Flowers' was the Mesoamerican god of summer, flowers, pleasure, love, dancing, painting, feasting, creativity and souls. He is a benevolent manifestation of Piltzintecuhtli, the young sun god who was himself a manifestation of Tonatiuh, the supreme sun god of Mesoamerica. The god is closely associated with the corn (maize) god Centéotl and was sometimes referred to as the 'Corn-flower Prince' or Centéotl-Xochipilli, the 7th Lord of the Day. For the Aztecs he could also appear as Ahuiatéotl, the god of voluptuousness and he was also associated with butterflies, poetry and the 11th of the 20 Aztec days: Ozomatli (Monkey). He was considered one of the Ahuiateteo, the gods of excess, and for the Zapotec he was Quiabelagayo. Generally speaking, though, he was thought of as something of a youthful and care-free pleasure-seeker, perhaps with a playfully mischievous streak.

Xochipilli may have origins in the earlier Mesoamerican god worshipped at Teotihuacán during the Pre-Classic to Classic Period who is known simply as the Fat God. In Aztec mythology Xochipilli has two brothers Ixtlilton (the god of health, medicine and dancing) and Macuilxóchitl (the god of games). As a group this good-time trio represented health, pleasure and happiness. The god also has a sister (or female counterpart), Xochiquetzal.

Particularly worshipped at Xochimilco, the most common offering to the god was corn and pulque.

Particularly worshipped at Xochimilco, the most common offering to the god was corn and during his festivals, which were held in the early growing season and during Tecuilhuitontli (the 8th Aztec month), pulque (the alcoholic beverage made from the maguey or agave plant) was copiously drunk. Statues of the god were also frequently decked out with flowers and even butterflies.

Remove Ads

Perhaps the most famous representation of the god in art is the Late Post-Classical Period (1450-1500 CE) statue, a masterpiece of Aztec sculpture, now residing in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. The statue is 1.2 metres high and has Xochipilli seated on a temple platform (or perhaps a drum) which is decorated with butterflies, flowers and clusters of four dots representing the sun. Xochipilli is wearing a mask and is himself covered in flowers from psychotropic plants, hallucinogenic mushrooms and animal skins. Cross-legged and care-free the god is portrayed happily singing and playing his rattles, a vibrant symbol of all the good things in life.


Remove Ads

Did you like this definition?
Editorial Review This article has been reviewed by our editorial team before publication to ensure accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards in accordance with our editorial policy.
Remove Ads


World History Encyclopedia is an Amazon Associate and earns a commission on qualifying book purchases.
Subscribe to this author

About the Author

Mark Cartwright
Mark is a full-time writer, researcher, historian, and editor. Special interests include art, architecture, and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the WHE Publishing Director.


French Portuguese Spanish Turkish

We want people all over the world to learn about history. Help us and translate this definition into another language!

Free for the World, Supported by You

World History Encyclopedia is a non-profit organization. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide.

Become a Member  

Recommended Books

World History Encyclopedia is an Amazon Associate and earns a commission on qualifying book purchases.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Cartwright, M. (2013, September 06). Xochipilli. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/Xochipilli/

Chicago Style

Cartwright, Mark. "Xochipilli." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified September 06, 2013. https://www.worldhistory.org/Xochipilli/.

MLA Style

Cartwright, Mark. "Xochipilli." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 06 Sep 2013. Web. 20 Jun 2024.