Aztec culture is an important civilization of Central America or Mexico and has fascinated people through the ages. Their artifacts still tell us about their glorious culture, beliefs, and traditions.
One such essential element of their culture is the Aztec art of tattooing. They were once part of rituals that honored gods. But now they are reminders of the culture.
Aztec tattoos also offer various meanings to the people who get them. Among the most popular Aztec tattoos is the Huītzilōpōchtli (Aztec god of the sun and war).
An eagle or hummingbird represents Huītzilōpōchtli. It is also an important symbol of the afterlife. Keep reading to learn all about the symbol, its meaning, and ideas for tattoos you can get.
What is The Meaning of Huītzilōpōchtli?
Huitzilopochtli, also called Uitzilopochtli, Xiuhpilli (Turquoise Prince), or even Totec (Our Lord), is the Aztec god of sun and war. It is one of the 2 principal deities of the Aztecs and appears in art as either an eagle or a hummingbird.
Huitzilopochtli’s name comes from combining the Nahuatl words huitzilin, which means hummingbird, and opochtli, which implies left. Aztec people believed that dead warriors were reincarnated as hummingbirds. They considered the South to be present on the world’s left side and gave it the name meaning South’s resuscitated warrior.
While he had a lot of other names, his nagual, also called the animal disguise, was an eagle. Huitzilopochtli is the deity who guided the Aztecs through the long migration from Aztlan, the traditional home, to Mexico.
During the journey, they carried the image of Huitzilopochtli in the shape of a hummingbird over the shoulders of priests, and they heard his voice giving orders at night.
The capital of Aztecs, Tenochtitlán, was founded on a small, rocky island with a lake in the Valley of Mexico in 1325 CE. They built the first shrine of god on the exact spot where the priests found an eagle placed on a rock devouring a snake.
Why is Huītzilōpōchtli a Popular Tattoo?
Although Huītzilōpōchtli was the Aztec god of war and the sun, it continues to be a popular tattoo idea as the deity represents the belief in the afterlife.
The Aztecs believed that the cycle of rising and setting the sun was proof that there is life after death. They believe the sun reflects the ability to leave this world and move on to another one.
The Huītzilōpōchtli tattoo usually includes a round face with big eyes, an outstretched tongue, and teeth on display with sun rays around the face. It is a very intricate design that requires quite a lot of detailing.
Huītzilōpōchtli Ideas For You to Get Inked
The Huītzilōpōchtli is a popular design, especially among the ones who appreciate the rich cultural and symbolic significance of Aztec images. Some of the most common Huītzilōpōchtli tattoo designs are:
1. Sleek Hummingbird Tattoo
You can start small if you’re just getting introduced to body art and planning for Huītzilōpōchtli to be your first tattoo. Here you can opt for a sleek, tiny design that can be placed well on your ankle, elbow, or wrist.
The minimalist hummingbird tattoo design includes clean, bold lines that make it a visually appealing design. Suppose you want to personalize the image to suit you better. In that case, you can always customize it by adding text or initials to the image of the bird.
2. Flying Huītzilōpōchtli Tattoo
Those who want a more detailed and dramatic Huītzilōpōchtli tattoo will find this design more appealing. It features the symbol of Huītzilōpōchtli in the form of a bird taking flight.
This unique and intricate design includes a sun behind the bird to depict the god of the sun. It also features a sinister skull in the middle, giving it an evil look and highlighting the death and the afterlife that the Huītzilōpōchtli symbol represents.
Since it is an intricate and detailed design, the tattoo artist might require a bigger area like your back or calf.
3. Huītzilōpōchtli in a Circle Tattoo
Suppose you follow the Aztec culture and faith and want a tattoo that embraces your beliefs. In that case, you can combine two of the most important symbols – Huītzilōpōchtli and the Aztec calendar.
While Huītzilōpōchtli is the god of the sun and war, the calendar tattoo symbolizes the sun in the middle. The Aztecs revered the sun as it represented life and eternity. Today, people get it inked closer to the heart to highlight that love is eternal.
This calendar includes 2 two cycles, the first is a yearly cycle of 365 days, called xiuhpōhualli, and the second is a ritual cycle of 260 days, known as tōnalpōhualli.
The combination of the circular calendar and the Huītzilōpōchtli hummingbird makes for a fascinating design that will surely turn many heads, no matter where you go!
4. Dotwork Huītzilōpōchtli Tattoo
Dotwork is a tattoo method that has been prevalent for centuries, having roots in ancient hand-poking tattooing. People in ancient times used them as important symbols of personal prowess, religious or cultural expression, and even a connection with spirituality.
Dotwork tattoos consist of many tiny dots that are used to create a bigger image and require time, patience, and effort. This Huītzilōpōchtli tattoo also includes geometric shapes and shading done with the use of dots, which makes it visually appealing.
5. Tribal Huītzilōpōchtli Design
Aztecs were a nomadic tribe native to northern Mexico known for their rich art and symbolism. Since Huītzilōpōchtli is a symbol of the Aztec tribe, there is no better way to ink it than a tribal design.
This tribal tattoo design Huītzilōpōchtli features bold lines, shading, and intricate detailing, making it an aesthetic tattoo. It suits both men and women, and the small design can be placed anywhere on the body.
6. Huītzilōpōchtli Colorful Tattoo
If you’d like to stand out, you can ditch the black ink Huītzilōpōchtli tattoo and opt for a colorful one. It includes vibrant colors that enhance the beauty of the symbol and might resonate with someone with a bold personality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ans: Huītzilōpōchtli is the resuscitated warrior from the South and the Aztec god of the sun and war.
Ans: A hummingbird tattoo represents joy, transformation, renewal, and protection from evil and toxic spirits.
Ans: Yes, in many cultures, the hummingbird represents good luck, transformation, and healing.
The Aztec culture is vast and interesting, much like the symbols they used. If you’re an enthusiast, you will find many symbols or images to choose from for your next tattoo. But the Huītzilōpōchtli symbol will always stand out.
It is not only an intricate and aesthetic symbol, but it also comes with deep history and meaning. Now that you know all about the Huītzilōpōchtli symbol, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your artist and get this glorious tattoo inked!