Numerous Mexican legends surround Rabbit, and each object in this retablo depicts one of them. Even the name “Mexico” is derived from Nahuatl words for the rabbit in the moon; and its capitol, Mexico City, is built on six lakes in the form of a rabbit. If you open the box this retablo sits upon, you will find inside a manuscript that conveys the story of the rabbit in Mexican legend and how I was drawn to it. The Aztecs had a legend of 400 drunken rabbits who were the gods of pulque–a drink made of fermented Maguey–the same plant that Tequila is made of. The woman sitting next to rabbit might be Mayahuel, the goddess of Maguey, but it is more likely that she is the Jaina woman explained in the quote below from the book Maya Terracottas.
“Representations of Maya women occur more commonly as Jaina figurines than in any other medium. These Jaina figures represent two kinds of women, both archetypes of female behavior. One is a stately, courtly woman who is sometimes shown weaving; the second is a courtesan who appears with all sorts of mates, from Underworld deities to oversized rabbits. The imagery of both derives from Maya concepts of the moon, perceived as an erratic, inconsistent heavenly body, whose constantly changing character follows the monthly cycle of female menses…
…The second female type is far more active, and she projects her sexuality…she is usually bare-breasted, and she gestures, as if offering herself to others. The demure woman may be painted in various colors, but this one is generally painted blue…Nothing else in Maya art conveys sexuality more convincingly than these figures. Although they may be conceived as the moon goddess and her consorts, they also reflect human behavior. As companions for the dead – perhaps particularly for old men – they seem to promise renewed sexual activity. For the living, such Jaina figurines may have been titillating objects for private observation.” (Schele: 1986, p. 153). Cf. Kimball, Maya Terracottas, p. 23
Since Fandango’s prompt isn’t up yet and I didn’t post to yesterday’s prompt of Legend, I’m doing so now. This is a reblog of a post done three years ago.