To the Ancient Maya, being Cross-eyed was being favored by the Sun God

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.

A pendant placed between the eyes that would cause permanently crossed eyes, considered very beautiful in Maya culture

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.

The Sun god Kinich Ahau (God G) seated with flares. Classic period. Source: Justin Kerr: The Maya Vase Book. Vol. 6, Kerr Associates (2001).

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



written by Njord Kane © 2016 Spangenhelm Publishing

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