The Mexican artist Guillermo Meza apprenticed in his father's tailor shop while studying art and music at the Escuela Nocturna de Arte para Trabajadores (Art Night School for Workers). After moving to Morelia, a city in the state of Michoacan, Meza continued his studies and was fortunate to meet Diego Rivera in 1940. Rivera helped to arrange Meza's first one-man exhibition at the Galeria de Arte Mexicano, an important venue in Mexico City. Meza was represented in international exhibitions beginning in the 1950s and worked later in his career with dance and theater companies, both in Mexico and abroad. He also served as president of the First National Congress of Visual Artisits. Meza described his vocation as: "My eyes, my hands, my brain we made for painting, and only painting can settle my drive."
In this work, Meza refers to an ancient subject: Ah Puch, a malevolent underworld deity of Mayan religion. The god of death, Ah Puch ruled over Mitmal, the land of the dead, and appears in pre-Conquest codices along with the god of war in scenes of human sacrifice. Generally pictured as a human with an owl's head, he is also pictured as a skeleton-like being. With a large cancas and the somber, mysterious disposition of the figure, Meza has created an ominous, threatening image that invokes something of the fear and violence of the ancient world.