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Tired of blood-dripping deities, Mexico museum exhibits nicer, ‘artistic’ Aztec god

A man pushes a woman in a wheelchair past a wall of stone skulls that represent sacrificial victims, at the entrance to the Templo Mayor museum in central Mexico City, Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. The Templo Mayor museum has put on display for the first time an offering dedicated to Xochipilli, the Aztec god of singing, dancing, and the morning sun. AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

MEXICO CITY – In the pantheon of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic gods, most Aztec deities are depicted as brutal, blood-thirsty beings only appeased by human sacrifices.

But Mexico’s Templo Mayor museum on Friday put on display for the first time an exhibition dedicated to Xochipilli, the Aztec god of singing, dancing and the morning sun.

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The Aztecs usually sacrificed quails to Xochipilli, rather than still-beating human hearts. And he was worshipped at vast poetry and music festivals, rather than martial displays.

Museum director Patricia Ledesma says the display is meant to show another side of deities worshipped by the Mexica people who inhabited the Aztec empire.

In her words, “This is part of what we wanted to show, that the Mexicas didn’t just do warlike or bloody things, but also artistic things.”

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