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Itzamná

Itzamná is also known as Itzamnaaj during the Classic period. Itzamna is the god of the sun and wisdom, lord of the sky, the day and the night; he inhabits the celestial world from where rules the cosmos.

Some scholars believed that Itzamna was the supreme god, creator of the universe. Today it is known that his importance in the Mayan pantheon is as one of the creator gods, however he is not the supreme god who the Mayans called Hunab Ku but his son.

Itzamna is represented in multiple forms, mainly as an old person. Nevertheless given his omnipresent power, he appeared in Mayan art in animal forms according to the area where he was found.

That is to say as a bird if it was at a celestial level or a crocodile if it was a flat ground (like in the illustration inspired from the Dresde Scriptures). Ancient Mexican people related the earth with reptiles because the surface as seen from a high point, with vegetation and diverse ecological formations like mountains, has a lot of similarity to the skin of a reptile, mostly with crocodiles.

In the Pueblo Magico de Izamal in the Yucatan, they have found the remains of the temples where Mayans dedicated ceremonies to Itzamna. In fact the name of the town is derived from the surname of this god.

Ixchel

She is the god of the moon and therefore she was also associated with diverse elements like water and fertility, including the rabbit. Also, she is associated with certain trades characterized by the female gender and others related to maternity. The proof of this is the representations of her as the wife of Itzamna. The Mayans used to represent her as a young woman (as the symbol of the growing moon) or as a woman of advanced age (like a diminishing moon).

The most common way of representing Ixchel, and the easiest for archaeologists to identify her, was in the form of an old woman emptying a pitcher of water on the ground or also as an old woman weaving on a loom and wearing a headdress of a snake. On the south point of Isla Mujeres in Quintana Roo, there is a small temple that is dedicated to this god.

Kinich Ahau

Mexico City, Mexico; Kinich Ahau, Sun God – stucco sculpture attributed to Kohunlich area, Maya CultureMuseum of Anthropology

This was the name of the sun god in the post classic period. His name means ‘Lord of the Solar Eye’ for the particular size of his eyes, an important symbol that he represented. He had the custom of causing the children who were destined for the government or the church to squint as an insignia of their lineage and position within Mayan society.

In Mayan art, Kinich Ahau is used to be represented with jaguar ears, teeth in the shape of a T, a beard as a symbol of the rays of the sun and distinctive big eyes, almost square from squinting. At the same time he was considered the god of the descending sun or dusk that lowers to the underworld, therefore appearing as a jaguar, the lord of the subterranean world.

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