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Literally means Earth lord

In Mythology

According to the Histoire du Mechique, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca tore apart Tlatecuhtli's body to form the surface of the Earth and out of her hair made the trees, and flowers and grasses, of her, of her eyes, wells and fountains and little caverns, of her nose valleys and mountains, and of her shoulders mountains. [1]

In Artwork

Tlaltecuhtli (with Tlazolli associations)
In artwork Tlaltecuhtli is associated both with death and life. At times she is depicted with disheveled hair containing such creatures from Mictlan as centipedes, spiders, and scorpions.
Tlaltecuhtli (with Malinalli associations)
These animals represent tlazolli (i.e., that which is rotten, used up, disintegrated, and decayed - in short, matter out of place) At other times, Tlaltecuhtli is depicted with well groomed hair made of malinalli. In this depiction, Tlaltecuhtli represents lifeenergy as well as ever-rejuvenating fecundity, potency, and growth.
Malinalli day sign
Depictions of Tlaltecuhtli in art thus indicate that Tlaltecuhtli is both the womb and tomb of all life. [2] This idea is reinforced with the tonalpohualli tonalli sign of Malinalli which at the base contains the bottom jaw of Miquiztli and from this base sprouts grass.


  1. An Illustrated Dictionary of The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya by Mary Miller and Karl Taube. pages 167-168
  2. Aztec Philosophy by James Maffie. Pages 1311-1313 (E-book version)