Aztec Gods and Goddesses: Tezcatlipoca Facts

Here are some facts about Tezcatlipoca,

  • Tezcatlipoca was an important god in the Aztec religion. He was the god of material things and of night, and was also associated with winds, the earth, magic and war.

  • He was sometimes known as owner of the sky and the Earth, and Lord of the Smoking Mirror. The name was used because of the shiny black mirrors often used by Aztec priests.
  • He was sometimes described as being invisible, or black in colour. He is often shown wearing a feathered headdress, and sandals, and carrying a bow and arrows and shield.
  • Many temples built to honour Tezcatlipoca were aligned east to west, as he was associated with the sun. His main temple in Tenochtitlan included a platform reached by 80 stone steps.
  • According to many Aztec legends, Tezcatlipoca and his brother the god Quetzalcoatl created the world. The Aztecs believed they lived in the last of five cycles, or periods of creation.
  • He was the son of the god Ometéotl. He had two sons named Itzli and Ahpuch, a daughter named Mictlantecuhtli, and several nieces and nephews.
  • To create the world, Tezcatlipoca first used his foot as bait to capture a fierce crocodile-like monster. Because of this, he is often depicted as having just one foot.
  • The ceremony honouring Tezcatlipoca was one of the most important in the year, and took place in May. A young man was sacrificed, and he was believed to represent the gods on earth.
  • It was believed that he could see any illegal or evil behavior happening anywhere on earth. Aztec kings had to stand in front of his statue and prove themselves worthy of the position of leader.
  • The priests who worshipped Tezcatlipoca often dressed to look like him. They would often cover themselves in black soot and wear a headdress made from turkey feathers.

What next? Discover more facts about the Aztecs by visiting our Aztec resources page.