A highly desired physical trait in Maya culture was to be cross-eyed (strabismus).
Maya mothers would suspend an object between the eyes of their infants in an attempt to artificially induce the desired crossed-eyed trait. It was in hopes their child would be handsome, favored and have a good future.
Having crossed eyes was considered honoring “Kinich Ahau,” the cross-eyed Maya Sun god (also “Sun Lord”), in order to appease and gain his favor. Because of this, it was also considered a god-like handsome trait as well.
Kinich Ahau (K’inich Ajaw) is the 16th-century Yucatec name of the Maya sun god, designated as God G when referring to the codices. In the Classic period, God G is depicted as a middle-aged man with an aquiline nose, large square eyes, cross-eyed, and a filed incisor in the upper row of teeth.
Usually in Mayan glyphs, there is a k’in ‘sun’-infix, sometimes in the very eyes which symbolize the Sun god.
The trait of being cross-eyed was desired even more by the noble class, as a Maya king would often be depicted as a Sun King in relation to the Sun god. Thus, having the physical traits of Kinich Ahau solidified a rulers claim to the throne by having the physical features (cross eyed) that proved they were favored by the Sun god himself.
Read more about Maya Culture in: The Maya by Njord Kane
- Kane, Njord. The Maya : The Story of a People. 2nd Edition. Spangenhelm Publishing, 2016. ISBN: 978-1943066032
- Miller, Mary; Karl Taube. The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. London: Thames & Hudson, 1993. ISBN 0-500-05068-6
- Mary Ellen Miller, Karl Taube. An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. Thames & Hudson, 1997. ISBN: 978-0500279281
- J. Eric S. Thompson. Maya History and Religion (The Civilization of the American Indian Series). University of Oklahoma Press, 1990. ISBN: 978-0806122472
written by Njord Kane © 2016 Spangenhelm Publishing
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