The, Feathered Serpent is a prominent supernatural entity, or
deity, found in many Mesoamerican religions. It was called
Quetzalcoatl among the Aztecs,
Kukulkan among the Yucatec Maya,
Q'uq'umatz and Tohil among the K'iche' Maya.
Awanyu is a Tewa deity,
The double symbolism used in its name reflects the dual nature
of the deity, where being feathered represents its divine nature,
living in the sky, and being a serpent represents its earthly nature
or ability to abide on the ground among the animals of the Earth.
The earliest representations of feathered serpents appear in the Olmec
culture 1400-400 BCE. Most surviving representations in Olmec art,
such as Monument 19 at La Venta and a painting in the Juxtlahuaca cave,
show it as a crested rattlesnake, sometimes with feathers covering the
body, and often in close proximity to humans. It is believed that Olmec
supernatural entities such as the feathered serpent were the forerunners
of many later Mesoamerican deities.
The Aztec feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl is known from several Aztec
codices such as the Florentine codex, as well as from the records
of the Spanish conquistadors. Quetzalcoatl was a bringer of knowledge,
the inventor of books, and associated with the planet Venus.