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Although popular belief maintains the identification of characters emerging from flowers, shells, etc. as aluxes or trickster spirits in Yucatec folklore, old characters emerging from different kinds of shells are often most likely the deity known to scholars as God N, a quadripartite Earth-bearing entity, associated with the four cardinal directions.

Vessel in the shape of an old man emerging from a snail shell
Late Classic (600-900 A.D.)
Burnished and painted clay
18 x 15 cm.
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.

Photo © Jorge Pérez de Lara