Huitzilopochtli (pronounced Weetz-ee-loh-POSHT-lee) was one of the most important Aztec gods, and was the deity who, according to the tradition, led the Mexican people from Aztlan, their homeland, to Central Mexico. According to some scholars, Huitzilopochtli could have been an historical figure, probably a priest, who became a god after his death.
Huitzilopochtli was also the god who indicated to the Aztecs the location where to found their capital, Tenochtitlan. He appeared in dreams to the priests and told them to settle on an island, in the middle of lake Texcoco, where they would see an eagle perching on a cactus. This was the divine sign.
Escalera chose to commemorate this particular Aztec god in the most grandiose of manner. The traditional garb and flamboyant headdress was only surpassed by the pomp and circumstance attributed towards worshipping this deity. The artist took great pains in portraying Huitzilopochtli as larger than life and with a definite air towards intimidation.