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August 11, 2010

In Aztec mythology, Ixtlilton (The Little Black One) was the Mexican god of medicine and healing, and therefore was often alluded to as the brother of Macuilxochitl (the god of well-being or good luck). He is also associated, possibly via siblingship, with the Centzontotochin. He was also associated with the dance, presumably because dancing formed a part of many medical cures. From the account of the general appearance of his temple-in edifice of painted boards-it would seem to have evolved from the primitive tent or lodge of the medicine-healers, or shaman. It contained several water-jars called tlilatl, the contents of which were administered to children in bad health. The parents of children who benefited from the treatment bestowed a feast on the deity, whose idol was carried to the residence of the grateful father, where ceremonial dances and oblations were made before it. It was then thought that Ixtlilton descended to the courtyard to open fresh jars of pulque liquor provided for the feasters, and the entertainment concluded by an examination by the Aztec Æsculapius of such of the pulque jars dedicated to his service as stood in the courtyard for everyday use. Should these be found in an unclean condition, it was understood that the master of the house was a man of evil life, and he was presented by the priest with a mask to hide his face from his scoffing friends.

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