The scientific tourist #288 — Cocijo

Spotted in Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, it’s a ceramic urn portraying Cocijo:

Cocijo

Pronounced koh-SEE-hoh, Cocijo was the Zapotec god of thunder and rain.  As you can see, he’s got a forked snake-like tongue (it’s pretty common for mesoamerican cultures to depict supernatural beings with animal aspects), and is wearing a headdress (a marker of a high-status individual in Zapotec society).

Given the Zapotec’s dependence on rain for their agriculture, it makes sense that Cocijo was one of their most important deities.  Along with being in charge of storms, the Zapotec felt Cocijo was to thank for pretty much everything in the universe — having created it from his breath.

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