Itzamna, son of Hunab Ku, stands out in Mayan mythology. In the codices
he appears as an old man with a large jaw, sunken cheeks, an aquiline
nose and a beard. He has two hieroglyphs, the first of which is a conventional
representation of his own head, and the second of which contains, as
its principal element, the symbol for the day Ahau. This day sign means
monarch, prince or great lord, thus giving Itzamna, the position of
chief of the Mayan gods, as well as being patron of the day Ahau, the
last of the twenty Mayan days.
Most of the figures which appear in sculptures, frescoes and vase paintings
are of men, rulers, priests, acolytes, warriors and prisoners. The paintings
of gods have been taken from the three extant Mayan hieroglyphic manuscripts.
In view of the strict cultural continuity of these codices, it is possible
that the Mayan gods have remained the same during the different historical
phases of the Mayan civilization.
It is said that Itzamna was Lord of the Heavens, of the Night and of
the Day. In these last two functions, he is closely associated with
Kinich Ahau, the sun god, "Lord of the Sun's Eye", who was worshipped
especially in Izamal, in the north of Yucatán, together with
Ixchel, the moon goddess.
It is even possible that in fact Kinich Ahau is simply a particular
manifestation of Itzamna in his character of Lord of the Day, that is,
the Sun. It is said that Itzamna was the first priest, the inventor
of writing and of books (the codices), that he gave to the different
parts of Yucatán the names by which they are known, and that
he divided up the lands of this region. The nature of these activities
suggests that the cult of Itzamna did not originate in Yucatán,
but rather in some other Maya area.
Ek Chuah|Ah Katun|Xaman