Xoloitzcuintli, Frida Kahlo dog’s

aztecas, english, Frida kahlo, Mexico, rituals
Photopraph taken by Lola Alvarez Bravo (1944)

Recently, my eyes fell on photographs made ​​Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter of s. XX, in which he appeared with a young and energetic dogs, Itzcuintli. Frida and her husband, Diego Rivera loved them animals were known to had monkeys, macaws and even a deer; and xoloitzcuintlis entertained and accompanied their lives for a long time. Photographs were many of them, and herself reflected in his paintings several of these dogs.

Digging deeper on the breed and type of dog we go back no more and no less than Aztec times, and has not left me indifferent anything, because there are numerous references to this canid.

Xoloitzcuintli comes from the Nahuatl language and means “rare dog”. These dogs maintained a very high status within the Empire and its regional and temporal distribution ranges from Mexico to Honduras and from ss. VI to XVI after our era. This dog is characterized by a mutation that confers a dog hairless; but there is also a variety with the same. Perhaps this was as admired dog at the time by men. The remains found have been identified due to incomplete dentition due to lack of premolars and sometimes even canines.

Perro Itzcuintli y yo (1938)

The contexts that are associated are:

  • funeral activities
  • used as food
  • rituals and religious activities. The most important finding and numerous was in Chac Mool where 37 individuals were killed and buried in a ritual of new year is found.
Within the pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican world, the dog played an important role in society, as well as food, companionship, protection of live and dead character of myths and legends, as a component of traditional medicine, as a sacrifice, calendrical symbol, companions of gods and gods as such. Due to the high dispersion of uses of this breed is thought that a dog was not associated with the elite but who possessed high-level people.
The arqueozoologics evidence indicates that the origin of the Xoloitzcuintli was in western Mexico on the sixth century and from s VII begin to migrate toward the center, under the so-called “chichimecas migration”. It was not until the tenth, when the dogs come to the Yucatan peninsula under the trade contacts between the Maya area and central Mexico.
According to Francisco Javier Clavijero breed almost became extinct due to indiscriminate use of the Spaniards after the conquest, as the scarcity of meat led to increased consumption.
Xolitzcuintli representation in Florentine codex
Thanks to people in love with the animals and had great devotion for this race, if the husband of Frida Kahlo, which includes in its famous murals these dogs failed to disappear and we can admire today making us an idea of ​​its vast history.




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