In death, these Cihuateteo aka "divine women" are feared and known for causing both physical and mental illness and stealing children.
Description: Also known as ‘Divine Women’, depicted with skeletal faces and eagle claws for hands.
In Aztec mythology childbirth was viewed as a battle of sorts. Women who died during childbirth were regarded as fallen warriors and honoured as such. Given the pain they went through during their death, their haunting abilities were not welcomed. In death, these women were feared, and known for causing illness - and not just physically, they mainly caused mental illness. It is said they were responsible for stealing children, given that they were taken from their offspring at their time of death.
The Cihuateteo were thought to uplift the spirit and strength of soldiers in battle. It was said that the Cihuateteo would accompany the warriors with the sun setting in the west. Whilst somewhat welcomed in this sense, they would also work their charm and seduce men to misbehave sexually.
Statues of the Cihuateteo were placed in a shrine dedicated to the Cihuateotl in the main temple precinct in Tenochititlan. They were normally carved or moulded as a fearsome looking goddess perched on her clawed feet, her back slightly arched, bare breasted wearing an unadorned skirt. She was placed in a position of worship.
Be it a demon or celestial princess - detested or worshipped... all was dependent on the individual’s belief.
Put together by Ashley Hall 2014