Cylindrical urn depicting personage sitting cross legged with hands resting on feet Figure wears elaborate headdress and mask forked tongue emerges from open mouth

Urn Representing Cosijo, the God of Rain

Zapotec culture, Monte Alban, Pre-Columbian

About 450, Epoch III

Cosijo was among the most important gods of the ancient Zapotec people. They invoked this deity, associated with rainfall, as the “great spirit within the lightning.” Representations of Cosijo combine elements of the earth-jaguar and sky-serpent, both linked to fertility. His eyebrows depict the heavens, his lower lids represent clouds, and his forked serpent’s tongue represents a bolt of lightning. Zapotecs placed urns like this one in tombs.