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Itzamna: Itzamna, Founder God of Maize in Mayan Religion, Mythology

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Itzamna, Founder God of Maize in Mayan Religion, Mythology

Itzamna, Founder God of Maize in Mayan Religion, Mythology

Image Source: Jupiter Images

Name and Etymology:


Itzamna, "Lizard House"
In Mayan, "itz" can mean "dew" or "nectar"
Name often preceded by "ahaulil," or "lord"

Religion and Culture of Itzamna:


Maya, Mesoamerica

Symbols, Iconography, and Art of Itzamna:


Images of Itzamna often contain snakes or mussels and he himself is depicted as an old man with a flower headdress. Sometimes he is shown as a giant bird. Classical Mayan art shows Itzamna sitting on a throne, presiding over lesser gods. Later images depict him as a high priest. Itzamna often appears as four gods, the Itzamnas — one for each cardinal direction.

Itzamna is God of:


Maize
Cacao
Writing
Drawing
Calendars
Divination
Medicine, Healing
Founder of Mayan culture

Equivalents in Other Cultures:


Ometeotl, in Aztec religion and mythology

Story and Origin of Itzamna:


In Mayan religion, Itzamna is usually treated as the supreme god. He is second only to Hunab Ku, but he is less abstract than Hunab Ku and more representations of him can be found in the archaeological record. Insofar as Mayan religion was moving towards monotheism, though, Itzamna was in a sense an aspect of Hunab Ku, not a separate divine being. As founder of Mayan culture, Itzamna refused to have anything to do with wars, violence, or human sacrifices.

Family Tree and Relationships of Itzamna:


Husband of Ixchel (Ix Chebel)
Father of the Bacabs
Son of Kinich Ahau or Hunab Ku

Worship and Rituals of Itzamna:


Mayan priests would often collect dew, which was closely associated with Itzamna, to use in their religious rituals. As creator god, Itzamna was invoked during many different festivals throughout the Mayan year — especially during the last month in order to prevent disasters in the following year.

Temples of Itzamna:


The city of Izamal was sacred to Itzamna.

Mythology and Legends of Itzamna:


As creator god, Itzamna was never associated with death or destruction, something common to most of the other Mayan gods. Itzamna created many of the things which make life better for humanity: he taught them writing, medicinal arts, and sciences.

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