Coyotes in Pre-Colombian Mexican Art

Here is a wooden sculpted coyote from the Museo de Artes Populares, in Mexico City.

In Aztec mythology, coyote — often referred to as huehuecoyotle — is the lucky god of music, dance, mischief and song. The prefix “huehue” was attached to gods that were revered for their old age, wisdom, philosophical insights and connections to the divine. Coyote can be associated with indulgence, male sexuality, good luck and story-telling.

Coyote is also a benign prankster, whose tricks tended to backfire and cause more trouble for himself than for the intended victims. A great party-giver, he also was alleged to foment wars between humans to relieve his boredom. He has shapeshifting powers. (Wikipedia)

I hope everyone sees that the Pre-Colombian storyteller possessed amazing wisdom and philosophical insights, into both coyotes and human nature, insights which hold true even today. Coyote is STILL fomenting wars between us humans: just visit your Nextdoor site to see the fights and disagreements about coyotes: coyotes’ shapeshifting powers continue to influence how different humans see this critter! And, of course, we all associate the howling-song-dog with song and sometimes mischief: did you ever wonder who cut through your garden hose last night?! Now the coyote is in trouble again — he has created more trouble for himself! As for good luck, any number of runners and walkers in the parks have told me that seeing a coyote in the park is their good-luck charm for the day. Pretty cool! Photo credits: Audrey Chavez and Nicole Wendel from their recent trip to Mexico City.

Here are four art pieces from the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City:

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dan De Vries
    Jul 26, 2017 @ 01:20:43

    Janet, love your posts, to say nothing of images, both your own photos, and things like these. Have you ever read (SF author) Christopher Moore’s Coyote Blue?Joyously riffs on such themes.


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